London: An Indian-origin doctor, who exploited women’s cancer fears to carry out invasive intimate examinations, was found guilty of sexually assaulting multiple women by a UK court on Tuesday.
Manish Shah, a general practitioner (GP), was convicted of 25 counts of sexual assault and assault by penetration on six women at the Old Bailey court in London. The trial heard how Shah used a news story during consultation with one patient about Hollywood star Angelina Jolie having a preventative mastectomy, before asking if she would like him to examine her breasts.
“He took advantage of his position to persuade women to have invasive vaginal examinations, breast examinations and rectal examinations when there was absolutely no medical need for them to be conducted,” prosecutor Kate Bex told the jury.
“Fear is an incredible motivator and few health concerns are scarier than cancer. Dr Shah exploited that and used it for his own personal gratification,” she said.
Over five years, between May 2009 and June 2013, the 50-year-old GP assaulted six patients of the Mawney Medical Centre in east London, including some as young as 11. The jury, which acquitted him of five other charges, was told that he had already been convicted of similar allegations relating to 17 other women, bringing the total number to 23.
Judge Anne Molyneux adjourned sentencing for the latest offences until February 7, 2020.
Shah had denied any wrongdoing and his barrister, Zoe Johnson, told jurors he was a “cautious, insecure, perhaps at times incompetent GP”.
But the prosecution’s case highlighted Shah’s generally “sexualised” behaviour and also his tendency to flout state-funded National Health Service (NHS) guidelines on examinations. He would reportedly give patients hugs and kisses, singling some out as “special” and his “star”, saying he had a soft spot for them.
Shah was suspended from the medical practice in 2013 when complaints came to light, resulting in a police investigation.