November 16, 2013
Seven victims of a GP who subjected vulnerable patients to degrading sexual abuse in his surgery were today stripped of their compensation payouts by appeal judges.
The women had been awarded cash sums totalling £38,500 from their abuser, 71-year-old Dr Gousul Islam, from Doncaster, following his conviction last year.
Islam was jailed for 11 years in December after he was found guilty at Sheffield Crown Court of numerous counts of indecent assault against the victims, six of whom were patients.
But he appealed and today saw the compensation orders quashed by top judges, Lord Justice Davis, Mr Justice Nicol and Judge Elgan Edwards QC, at the Court of Appeal.
Lord Justice Davis said no evidence had been put before the crown court on which the judge could reliably say the women had been mentally damaged by the abuse.
He said: ‘Looking at the evidence overall, the judge was not in a position to make a finding that substantial psychological problems had been caused by the appellant’s conduct.’
‘This could only properly be established by the appropriate psychiatric evidence and other inquiries.
‘We don’t think the judge was entitled to form his own judgment on issues such as these.
‘This necessitated careful and expert psychiatric assessment, based on interviews and discreet investigation and inquiry. It was not capable of assessment by a trial judge in the context of a court assessment.’
The court heard Islam was the sole GP at a surgery in Stainforth, near Doncaster, when he took advantage of some of those who came to see him for help in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
He questioned them on their sex lives, performed unnecessary intimate examinations and, in one case, put his penis into a patient’s mouth and called her a hypochondriac.
Another of the victims became so accustomed to being unnecessarily examined that she automatically took off her top during a routine visit to another doctor later in her life.
The one victim who was not a patient told how he had suggested that they have an affair and then put his hand up her skirt.
The crown court judge, Judge Simon Lawler, said it was the worst case of its kind by a professional man which he had seen during his career in law.
He said expert evidence was not required to know that the victims had suffered psychological trauma, which justified the compensation awards.
Three women received £10,000 each from Islam and another got £5,000, while the remaining three got £1,500, £1,000 and £750.
But Lord Justice Davis said the judge should not have made the awards, he said: ‘We do feel constrained to say that the judge erred in this regard.’