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Gravesend GP ‘abused patients while treating them’, court hears

PUBLISHED: 13:42 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:42 27 February 2018

Photo: PA

Photo: PA

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A GP carried out unnecessary intimate examinations on female patients for his own sexual gratification, a court has heard.

Dr Navin Zala, 69, is accused of sexually assaulting four women between 1985 and 2007.

Three were patients at his surgery in Marling Way, Gravesend, and the fourth was allegedly assaulted during a medical examination at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup.

Zala has denied six charges of indecent assault and two of sexual assault, claiming the women came forward mistakenly following publicity surrounding a previous conviction.

Opening his Old Bailey trial, prosecutor Vivian Walters said the offences all took place under the “guise of legitimate medical examinations”.

Zala had become a partner of the Gravesend practice in 1982, having qualified as a doctor in 1975.

He took over running the surgery in 1987 until 2011, the court heard.

Miss Walters said: “It is the Crown’s case that during that period the defendant used the opportunity afforded to him during the treatment of female patients to conduct unnecessary intimate examinations for his own sexual gratification.

“There are three women...who say that they were abused by the defendant at his surgery in Marling Way under the guise of medical examinations.

“You will also hear that they are not the only women who were sexually abused in this way by the defendant.

“He has previously been convicted of offences of indecently assaulting other patients during consultations at the Marling Way surgery. Those offences took place between 1985 and 1991.”

She added: “Of course, just because the defendant has been convicted of sexually or indecently assaulting other patients, it does not automatically follow that he is guilty of the offences which you are to try.

“Indeed, it is the defence case that it is the very fact of these previous convictions and the publicity surrounding them, that has caused the witnesses in this case to mistakenly come forward now.”

Judge Caroline English told jurors that the case was a retrial and was expected to go on for two weeks.

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