'Sleazy' WA doctor jailed for three years

Priyantha Padmike Dayananda was convicted after a trial of sexual penetration without consent.
Priyantha Padmike Dayananda was convicted after a trial of sexual penetration without consent.

A Sri Lankan doctor who sexually assaulted a vulnerable patient at a West Australian regional hospital has been jailed for three years.

Priyantha Padmike Dayananda was last week convicted of sexual penetration without consent following a trial, throughout which he insisted the allegations against him were a case of mistaken identity.

The District Court of WA heard the 49-year-old inserted his hand into the victim's underwear during an abdominal examination at Bunbury Hospital's emergency department in December 2017.

She ran from the hospital without discharging herself and took a taxi home.

When she was asked to point out her molester from a selection of photographs of the male doctors, she selected a Pakistani doctor, so Dayananda seized on that and blamed him.

He also blamed the other doctor for multiple phone calls and text messages sent to the woman for five to six weeks after the assault, claiming his second phone had been used by his colleague without his knowledge.

One message read: "Remember I touched your beautiful tummy at emergency".

She saved his number in her phone under "sleaziest slyest doctor".

The court heard that about two months before the offence, Dayananda had attempted to groom the victim when he visited her in her hospital room, where she was recovering from abdominal surgery.

He paid her "special attention", stroking her hair and asking to take her out.

She had come to WA the year prior to escape domestic violence and the abdominal injury was inflicted in a 2017 attack by her ex-boyfriend.

She lived in a women's refuge and Dayananda, a neurosurgeon who was working as a surgical registrar, offered to show her around the state.

"You took advantage of her vulnerability," Judge Belinda Lonsdale said, labelling his offending a gross breach of trust.

When Dayananda sexually assaulted the woman, asking her a question about her cleanliness "down there", she was in extreme pain as the wound from surgery had become infected.

She was too afraid to seek medical help afterwards, the infection worsened and she ended up having a hysterectomy.

Prosecutor Joel Grinceri said Dayananda had shown a degree of arrogance and a complete lack of remorse when he tried to use the other doctor as a scapegoat, dragging his good name through the mud.

Mr Grinceri said Dayananda used his secret phone, which showed not only contact with the victim but also prostitutes, to lead a double life.

Judge Lonsdale noted he had attempted to denigrate the victim in his police interview, saying he wouldn't touch "a girl like that" because she might have an infectious disease.

The father-of-one will be eligible for parole after serving 18 months and may be deported after his release as he does not have Australian citizenship.

Defence counsel Simon Watters had urged the judge to consider a suspended jail term.

He submitted his client had impeccable antecedents, but conceded "there was a clear loss of the moral compass".

Australian Associated Press