UK court exonerates Indian-origin doctor jailed for sexual assault
Birmingham-based Rajeshkumar Lalji Mehta, 65, was jailed in April 2018 and served his full sentence. He was also struck off the General Medical Council’s register, but his conviction was quashed after new evidence came to light showing the patient lied on oath.Updated: Dec 20, 2019 18:13 IST
The Court of Appeal of the high court of England and Wales has quashed the conviction of an Indian-origin doctor who worked for nearly 40 years in the National Health Service, and was jailed for 15 months after a patient complained of sexual assault.
Birmingham-based Rajeshkumar Lalji Mehta, 65, was jailed in April 2018 and served his full sentence. He was also struck off the General Medical Council’s register, but his conviction was quashed after new evidence came to light showing the patient lied on oath.
Mehta told the media outside the court: “I would like to express my enormous relief that my name has been cleared after three very difficult years. Over the past year, my wife and children have carried the burden and spearheaded a campaign to clear my name.”
“After my conviction, I lost everything, lost my career after nearly 40 years of NHS service. I lost my reputation. After I was released from prison, I endured regular, repetitive and humiliating interviews with trainee probation officers, asking me detailed questions relating to sexual assault matters,” Mehta said.
“My house was visited by police officers. I was put on the sex offenders’ register. I feel very anxious for the medical profession. Doctors work to do their very best for their patients, often in challenging circumstances, and there are not adequate protections to safeguard them against the few patients who make false accusations,” he said.
The patient had accused Mehta of groping her breasts after she told him she was worried she was having a heart attack. The woman contacted the police, and after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, he was found guilty of sexual assault.
Rob Hendry of campaign group Medical Protection said: “We are delighted that Dr Mehta has been acquitted by the Court of Appeal. He and his family fought hard to clear his name and we are proud to have been able to support them in achieving this outcome.”
“False allegations can cause a loss of reputation, profession and income. Tragically in Dr Mehta’s case, they can also lead to a loss of liberty…We will now support Dr Mehta in working to reverse the General Medical Council’s decision to remove his right to practice on the basis of the now overturned conviction.”