A convicted rapist will be allowed to work as a doctor in Victoria after the Court of Appeal today dismissed a challenge to a tribunal ruling.
Dr Sabi Lal, who was convicted of digital rape, indecent assault and attempting to pervert the course of justice in 2002, was refused re-registration in 2006 when the Medical Practitioners Board ruled that it was not in the public's interest for him to continue practising medicine.
At the time of the offences, Dr Lal suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder. ...
Justice Chris Maxwell and Justices Mark Weinberg and Emilios Kyrou said Dr Lal was suffering a mental illness at the time of the offending and his moral culpability was therefore low.
They said the offence of rape was constituted by Dr Lal performing a medically necessary pap smear, after falsely telling his patient the procedure would be performed by a female doctor.
OK, a couple of embellishments.
2002 doesn't seem that long ago.
His moral culpability was clearly enough that he was convicted of the offences; he was not 'out of his mind' and unable to pass moral judgements or understand what he was doing.
Shouldn't the medical board (as they have tried to do) impose a higher standard than the criminal system? Or to put it another way, impose a test that privileges patient safety over a doctor's rights?
The intellectual components of this offence seem to undermine the notion that he 'lost control' in a moment under the influence of a 'compulsion'. He carefully lied to put himself in the position where he could commit the offence, and he clearly has some ongoing capacity for dishonesty given the conviction extends to attempting to pervert the course of justice.
And is OCD really that easily, and conclusively, cured?
The 3 men on the bench will of course never have to face the consequences of the decision if it turns out to be wrong.