24 Jan 2017

'Creepy' health worker kissed patient, court told

9:52 pm on 24 January 2017

A woman who says a Wellington health professional indecently assaulted her has told a court she believed doctors who said they did not see the incident might have been covering up for him.

Wellington High Court

Wellington District Court Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The health professional, whose name is suppressed, has gone on trial in the Wellington District Court accused of indecently assaulting the patient by kissing her in January 2015.

Crown prosecutor Ian Auld told the jury the defendant kissed the complainant on the cheek while she was in an examination room and made inappropriate comments.

At the time of the alleged assault, the woman was naked from the waist down, but wearing a hospital gown, Mr Auld said.

The complainant gave evidence this afternoon, telling the court the defendant made several inappropriate comments to her before she was wheeled in for a procedure and while she lay on a gurney in the examination room.

The woman said at one stage she felt quite cold and asked if she could have a blanket.

She said the defendant told her he did not have one, but he could "jump into bed with her and heat her up and [she'd] like that, wouldn't [she]".

The woman said the man's tone of voice was "smarmy and creepy".

The woman said when the man kissed her on the cheek she "felt quite disgusted and taken aback and froze at that point".

She said the man stroked her thigh and hip. She could not remember how long that lasted, but he stopped when other health professionals came to start the procedure.

The complainant said at one stage the man placed himself in the line of sight of her exposed genitals. She tried to pull the hospital gown down to cover herself, but the doctors kept lifting it back up so they could continue with the procedure.

The woman told the jury that, while the procedure was taking place, the defendant went to the foot of the bed and started sensually rubbing her feet, then moved to the side of her bed and stroked her hands.

She said she became agitated and shouted at the doctors to stop and one said to the other, "You see, I told you this is why we should have sedated her".

In cross-examination, the woman said she was not making up the allegations.

She said she asked the doctors to stop the procedure because she was in pain, but the defendant's behaviour was her real reason for wanting them to stop.

The woman read from a statement she made during a hospital inquiry into the incident, in which she said the doctors might not have said anything about it because they were afraid.

"They know they should have stopped it. They're obviously friends with him because I heard them all speaking about going out to a birthday, so they're not going to speak up and put their careers at risk. They won't speak up because they know they were in the wrong."

Regarding the sedation comment, which she said the doctors made, the woman said she was thankful she was not sedated because it meant she was aware of what was happening to her and could speak up and say it was wrong.

The trial, before Judge Allan Roberts and a jury, is expected to take until at least Thursday.