NEWS-HR

A Sydney-based doctor touched 16 female patients for his own sexual gratification under the guise of a “medically necessary” examination they had consented to, a jury has been told. General practitioner Sharif Fattah, 62, has pleaded not guilty in the NSW District Court to 30 charges of sexual and indecent assault allegedly committed over six months from September 2016. Fattah was arrested in early March 2017 after three women approached police. His other 13 alleged victims came forward within a month. “The accused used his position as a doctor to sexually assault or indecently assault the complainants under the guise that each assault was medically indicated, medically necessary, or as part of a legitimate medical examination,” prosecutor Tony McCarthy said as he opened the Crown’s case on Tuesday. “Therefore, the consent that was given was not informed consent to that act.” He said Fattah had worked as a GP for 20 years in New Zealand before coming to Australia and starting work at a health centre in Sydney in mid-2016. The female patients, aged between 19 and 40, are expected to testify they consented to particular examinations by Fattah at the practice. The trial continues before Judge Sharon Harris.

A top Sunshine Coast medico is accused of grabbing a young female nurse on the genitals in front of other Queensland Health staff during a boozy party on a boat. Queensland Health has confirmed it is investigating one of its top male practitioners who remains an employee of the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service. He has been appointed to a leadership role at another major regional health service. A source close to the case revealed SSHS staff were present during the alleged assault in mid-December. The source said the man allegedly “grabbed her genitals, causing her to scream and …. to flee the scene once the boat was tied up”. The victim told SSHS management about the alleged assault and Queensland Health has confirmed it is investigating the allegations. NewsRegional asked the man for comment but he did not respond by the time the story went to press. The alleged victim is overseas and unable to be reached. “Should the complaint be substantiated, Queensland Health will take the strongest possible action available to us under the Public Service Act as we do not condone this type of behaviour,” a QH spokesperson said. Queensland police would not reveal if they were investigating the incident. The Australian Nurses Union Queensland branch is believed to be supporting the alleged victim but QNMU secretary Beth Mohle said the union “cannot comment on specific cases or those currently under investigation”. AMA Queensland research shows around 40 per cent of medicos surveyed last year had “personally experienced” harassment or bullying in the workplace.

Pearl Lifestyle Services Pty Ltd is still struggling with a s.372 (Application to deal with other contravention disputes) in front of Fair Work Deputy President Lake in his Brisbane chambers (Ahern).

A s.185 (Enterprise agreement) application by the Western Australian Council of Social Service Inc for its WACOSS Staff Agreement 2018 has been approved by Fair Work Deputy President Saunders sitting in Newcastle on 4 March 2019.

A s.185 (Enterprise agreement) application from the Adelaide Community Healthcare Alliance Incorporated for the ACHA- Allied Health Employees – Enterprise Agreement – 2018-2022 has been granted by Fair Work Commissioner Bissett in Melbourne on 4 March 2019.

St John of God Health Care has appointed former Victorian Department of Health and Human Services CIO Grahame Coles as its new group director of digital and technology.

A senior Queensland doctor caught filming up women’s skirts at a Brisbane shopping centre was “unravelling” in a “self-destructive and reckless spiral” after complaints were made about his workplace performance, a court has heard. Doctor Mohamed Zaahid Pandie was the clinical director of paediatric emergency medicine at The Prince Charles Hospital when he was caught using his phone to film up the skirts of seven women at a Mt Gravatt shopping centre in October last year. He yesterday pleaded guilty to recording the women, including shop staff and customers, aged between 18 and 27, in what Magistrate Anthony Gett described as “lewd and lascivious” offending. Defence barrister Greg McGuire said the 44-year-old South African-born doctor had fallen from grace. “Prior to the events of October 2018, the defendant had led a blameless, productive and indeed successful life until he engaged in this behaviour, which is perhaps correctly described as self-destructive, and one immediately asks what the hell went wrong,” Mr McGuire said. The court heard in February last year, Pandie was involved in a workplace incident relating to the management and care of a baby, and about his interpersonal manner to nursing staff, and was asked to take leave. “That led to obviously a lot of stress, gossip and innuendo,” Mr McGuire said. “He ends up getting suspended without pay, gets involved in a legal battle with respect to that, an order was made to place him on pay, that’s still an ongoing battle.” Mr McGuire said the complaints led Pandie, who is also the hospital’s deputy director of emergency services, to feel emotionally abandoned and isolated by his colleagues and resentful of his workplace, sparking his self-destructive behaviour. He said Pandie, who is still employed with the hospital but on leave, was diagnosed with chronic depression at the time of the offending. “Your honour, it’s a very sad state. You will see from the material how many people speak very highly of him even with knowledge of these offences,” the barrister said. “He’s been involved for a long period of time in effectively saving the lives of children. “It takes little imagination to recognise the extraordinary effects this has had, not only on himself, but his family.” Mr Gett said psychological reports tendered to the court showed Pandie was “starting to mentally and psychologically unravel… in the months preceding (the offending)”. “(Your doctor) also notes… that your capacity was somewhat impaired as a consequence of this major depressive illness… and your capacity to control your behaviours and also to know right from wrong was reduced or impaired,” Mr Gett said to Pandie. Pandie was sentenced to a 15-month probation order and no conviction was recorded. “Persons such as these victim are entitled to go about their business in public area without having persons such as yourself prey on them in a way that invades their privacy,” Mr Gett said. “The Queensland community deserves some protection from you in that regard.”

Commonwealth if Australia trading as the Department of Human Services will face a s.394 (Application for unfair dismissal remedy) accusation before Fair Work Deputy President Clancy in his Melbourne chambers (Graham).