'Butcher of Bega' Graeme Reeves released from jail

Disgraced former gynaecologist Graeme Reeves has been released from Long Bay prison on parole after he successfully appealed an 18-month increase to his sentence for mutilating a woman's genitals.

Reeves, dubbed the "Butcher of Bega", was found guilty by a District Court jury in 2011 for maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on patient Carolyn DeWaegeneire after he surgically removed her clitoris and labia without her consent during an operation to take out a pre-cancerous lesion.

The south coast doctor was given a two-and-a-half year sentence with a one-year non-parole period that expired in May this year.

On December 18, the High Court overturned a decision by the Court of Criminal Appeal to add 18 months to his sentence because it did not take into "account evidence of Reeves' deteriorating health and the imminent expiry of his non-parole period". He was released from jail on December 20.

A spokesman for Corrective Services NSW said there are strict parole conditions on Reeves, including that he not contact his victims.

In November, the Director of Public Prosecutions dropped outstanding charges against the gynaecologist, who has been the subject of investigations dating back more than 20 years.

A spokesman for NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith said "a significant number" of charges were withdrawn because there "was insufficient evidence to ensure a reasonable prospect of conviction."

Premier Barry O'Farrell said the news would be "a kick in the guts" for many women.

Patient advocate Lorraine Long said there was "no valid evidential reason" for the decision by the DPP to abandon more than 60 charges relating to indecent and sexual assault and malicious wounding of female patients.

"There have been a colossal number of victims," said Ms Long, founder of the Medical Error Action Group.

"These women aren't angry - they are furious and devastated. What has gone on is horrific."

She said total of 69 charges were laid against Reeves but 61 have been left "dormant" in the court system for years. During the past 20 years, she has received 832 complaints about Reeves.

"I challenge the DPP to publicly explain why they have made this outrageous decision. Nothing has changed in the evidence since brave women ... came forward to help police investigate one of the most appalling criminals in the state's medical history,” she said.

The NSW Court of Criminal Appeal will reconsider the Reeves' sentence following the High Court decision, with the possibility he will serve additional jail time.

smh, with Alexandra Smith

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