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George Doodnaught appealing sex assault convictions

02/26/2014 12:26 EST | Updated 04/28/2014 05:59 EDT
A Toronto anesthesiologist is seeking bail for an appeal bid on Wednesday, just a day after he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting more than 20 of his sedated patients.

George Doodnaught, 65, was found guilty of 21 counts of sexual assault in November, but he was not sentenced until yesterday.

All but one of the assaults occurred at North York General Hospital in Toronto. Victims were fondled or kissed by Doodnaught, who also put his penis in the mouths and hands of sedated patients.

Following the sentencing yesterday, Brian Greenspan, the lawyer representing Doodnaught, said his client was "disappointed" with the sentence.

"He continues to enjoy widespread support not only with his family, but amongst his colleagues, patients," he said.

Greenspan had already filed papers for the appeal ahead of the sentencing.

He is arguing that the judge erred in accepting the patients’ testimony as being plausible and rejecting evidence that didn’t point to Doodnaught’s guilt. He also argues that it wasn’t possible for the anesthesiologist to commit the assaults because of his proximity to other doctors and nurses in the operating room.

Greenspan believes Doodnaught should be granted bail because of the length of time it will take to go through the appeal process. He also argues that his client is not a flight risk, as he had been on bail for several years prior to his sentencing and had followed all conditions. He also argued Doodnaught is of low risk for reoffending because his medical licence is suspended.

The Crown is opposing Doodnaught’s bid for bail.

'Enormous damage'

During his sentencing hearing, Ontario Superior Court Justice David McCombs said "his conduct did enormous damage and was reprehensible in the extreme."

McCombs said the victims have dealt with anxiety, anger and trust issues.

He also said that Doodnaught’s actions "must be condemned in the strongest terms."

Outside court yesterday, one victim told reporters that the 10-year sentence Doodnaught had received was "insulting."

The victim said that Doodnaught never looked at her during her entire involvement in the justice-system process.

"He’s a coward," she said.

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