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Judges cut sex abuse GP's sentence
A family doctor who filmed himself sexually abusing female patients with his James Bond-style wristwatch has had his sentence cut from 12 to 10 years on appeal.
Dr Davinder Jeet Bains's original sentence was quashed by Lord Thomas, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Mr Justice Sweeney and Mr Justice Nicol at a hearing at Canterbury Crown Court today.
Bains used a secret camera hidden inside his watch to assault more than two dozen women at a medical practice in Wiltshire, where he was a trusted GP.
At his appeal hearing today, Lord Thomas told the court that although Bains's behaviour had been a "gross breach of trust" the original sentence imposed by Judge Douglas Field for 13 offences of assault by penetration would be reduced to eight years after taking into account that the "penetration had been minimal and brief" and that there had been "no violence".
He also resentenced Bains, 47, for 11 sexual assaults and 13 counts of voyeurism, to run concurrently to the eight-year sentence, and added a further two years of imprisonment for two counts of sexual activity with a child, bringing the total sentence to 10 years.
Bains, of Nyland Road, Swindon, committed offences against 27 women - aged from 14 to 51 - between July 2009 and June 2012.
Police described him as a "sexual predator" and said he had filmed up to 300 women while Judge Field branded him a "disgrace to the medical profession" at his sentencing hearing at Swindon Crown Court in May last year.
Some of his victims at the Tinkers Lane Surgery in Royal Wootton Bassett, near Swindon, spoke of their shock at discovering what the "pervy doctor" had done to them.
One woman, in her 30s, said she felt "violated and humiliated" at seeing the footage and said she had "lost faith in the NHS".
Malaysian-born Bains filmed the attacks on his Tieex 4GB Waterproof HD Spy Watch DVR, which has been likened to something out of a 007 film.
It had a built-in camera on the face - with simple on and off buttons to record - and can be bought on the internet for less than £60.
Bains admitted a total of 39 charges at Swindon Crown Court: 13 of assault by penetration, 13 of voyeurism, 11 of sexual assault and two of sexual activity with a child.
He also asked for a further 65 offences to be taken into account and his not guilty pleas to four other charges will lie on file.
Bains was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely and given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
The police investigation began in June 2012 when a 17-year-old girl told officers she thought Bains had filmed her as she showered and said she had been sexually assaulted by him.
Lord Thomas said Bains had been found in possession of two films involving the girl and that the complaint she made had led to the discovery of the offences he had committed on his patients.
He said Bains had filmed 293 patients at his surgery or elsewhere although the material had never been circulated and he had deleted some of it.
Lord Thomas said: "He accepted the penetration was sexual but asserted and accepted that it was reasonable for the purposes of a legitimate examination."
He said Bains also accepted assaults had taken place as there had been no consent to be filmed while the examinations were taking place.
The court heard that Bains had also fondled the bottoms of two teenagers who had come to the surgery in relation to contraception.
Lord Thomas said Bains had "abused a high degree of trust that a patient places in a doctor" and that he had "undermined the confidence placed in the medical profession".
He said Bains's activities had been "planned" and this was compounded by the lack of a chaperone in the room on most of the occasions intimate examinations were taking place.
He said his victims had faced "degradation" by being filmed and that their statements spoke of embarrassment and anger.
Lord Thomas said: "It seems to us that the most important factor in this case is the gross breach of trust."
He said there was no doubt that the public placed "enormous trust" in doctors and that the "maintenance of that importance is paramount".
Following his conviction, Bains was struck off the medical register when the independent Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service panel found his fitness to practise was impaired.
NHS England also published a report in November last year into the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults at Bains's former practice which found a senior colleague had "ongoing concerns" about his behaviour but was unsure what to do about it.
Four areas where the practice could make improvements were identified in the report.
These were complaints, chaperoning patients for intimate examinations, reporting and investigating serious incidents of concerns, and supporting and protecting staff who wished to raise issues.
The surgery confirmed that all identified actions had been undertaken and had provided evidence to demonstrate it, an NHS England spokeswoman said.