Dapto GP guilty of sex assault

Das Vithal Balgi
Das Vithal Balgi

A Dapto GP who sexually stimulated a patient under the guise of medical treatment has been found guilty of aggravated sexual assault.

Das Vithal Balgi violated his patient's trust when he led her to believe he was performing a legitimate medical examination, only to sexually assault her on his consultation bed.

Wollongong District Court heard the assault was part of a series of bizarre behaviours from the 71-year-old doctor, which included him telling her she was attractive, hounding her with calls and text messages, and inviting her to his home.

On Tuesday a jury of nine men and three women convicted Balgi of one count of aggravated sexual assault, finding him guilty of stimulating his patient's clitoris for no proper medical reason.

In doing so, they disregarded Balgi's claim he took the unusual step after she clamped down on his finger with her vaginal muscles, aggravating an injury to his shoulder.

They found him not guilty of another two counts of aggravated sexual assault relating to Balgi inserting his finger into the woman's vagina.

During the trial the court heard Balgi did not provide the woman with a modesty sheet during the bogus examination, nor did he properly explain what steps the procedure involved.

He then sexually assaulted the woman for up to 10 minutes, during which time he pressed his erection into her arm and told her to "relax and close your eyes".

Afterwards he told her she should "thank him", before recommending she return to him for weekly internal examinations.

He made no reference to the vaginal examination in the woman's medical notes.

"I tried convincing myself to start with that he's a trusted doctor and that that was possibly a legitimate medical check," the woman told the court during the trial.

"[But] it just didn't feel right and it was really affecting me and I felt embarrassed and dirty ... because that's not something that should be done by anyone but your partner."

In the months following the assault, the woman reported the incident to police and worked with them to secretly record a conversation with Balgi, who spoke freely about the crime.

"I'll be very frank with you, [I was] just trying to see if I [could] sort of give you a little bit of sexual relief there," he said.

He also told the woman he would have "loved" her to have "touched" and "seen" his erection.

During the trial Balgi maintained he believed he was providing the woman with legitimate medical treatment, and said he had a "genuine concern" for the woman's well-being.

It took the jury less than three hours to find the doctor guilty of aggravated sexual assault - a charge which has a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment.

He will be sentenced on May 8.

A statement from the Medical Council of NSW said it would work with the Health Care Complaints Commission to determine what further action would be taken against Balgi in relation to his registration as a medical practitioner.

In 2012 the Medical Council ordered Balgi must not consult, treat, interview or examine any female patient.