Stotfold GP found guilty of four counts of groping

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A GP accused of groping potential women recruits to the emergency services during breast and hernia examinations has been convicted by a jury of four charges of indecent assault.

Dr Robert Lewis used the pretext of genuine examinations to act inappropriately the court heard.

The 50-year-old, who is a GP at the Larksfield Surgery at Stotfold, near Hitchin, has been on trial for four weeks at Luton Crown Court, but will have to wait until December 18 to learn whether the prosecution will continue with a retrial on six charges that the jury failed to reach any verdicts on.

The doctor of Northbridge Street, Shefford originally pleaded not guilty to 37 charges against 23 women. 36 were charges of indecent assault between 1999 and 2003. One was a charge of sexual assault in May 2009.

During the trial Judge Michael Kay QC ruled the GP had no case to answer on 11 charges relating to 8 women.

The jury had to decide on 25 charges of indecent assault and the one of sexual assault against 18 women.

Todayafter twenty hours of deliberations they found him not guilty of 16 charges, guilty of four by majority verdicts and failed to reach verdicts on six charges.

Dr Lewis showed no emotion when the guilty verdicts were given.

Judge Kay remanded him on bail until Dec 18. If no retrial is to be held he will be sentenced, but the Judge gave no indication of what the sentence might be. He granted the doctor bail.

Mark Fenhalls QC, prosecuting, said: “These womenwere not his full time patients at his general practice. They were all prospective or current employees of the ambulance or fire service, who were sent to him for the medical examinations.

“The indecent assaults took place in the context of a medical examination.”

In giving evidence Dr. Lewis said the examinations were all carried out in a “decent and honest manner” and that it would be normal for a nurse chaperone to be present.