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Former GP partner who recorded images of female patients is found guilty of voyeurism

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k3227 (Published 24 July 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3227
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

A former partner in a general practice has been found guilty of voyeurism after secretly using mobile phones to record images of women during examinations and consultations.

A jury at Newcastle Crown Court took only an hour to convict Thair Altaii, 55, on three counts of voyeurism involving two patients between 2008 and 2014 and 300 pictures. He will be sentenced in August and was warned by Judge Edward Bindloss that he could face a prison sentence.

Police were alerted in August 2014 by a patient who noticed two mobile phones propped up during a consultation, one pointed at the patient’s chair and the other at the examination table.

Altaii was arrested, and police found more than 19 000 images of women on a computer seized from his home. Prosecutor Louise Reevell told the court, “Some were clothed, others were in various states of undress, and the images were apparently taken in the surgery environment. They also found video clips of patients being examined.”

Patients told officers that they had not consented to being recorded. Altaii initially denied the allegations, but when he was re-interviewed by police he produced a prepared statement admitting that he had recorded consultations with nine female patients without consent but denying that he was motivated by sexual gratification.

He claimed that he wanted to use the images for self assessment of his examination technique and admitted making an error of judgment. He said in relation to one picture, “You see the thong, I see the scoliosis.”

Altaii has been suspended from the UK medical register on an interim basis and faces a tribunal hearing that could see him struck off the register.

Adjourning sentencing till 14 August, Bindloss told him, “The fact I’m adjourning your case and ordering a report and granting you bail is no indication of the likely sentence. All options remain open, including a custodial sentence.”

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