Howard League for Penal Reform claims 10,000 fewer prison officers nationally - hundreds fewer across the East
Psychiatrist Guilty Of Sexual Assault
A psychiatrist from Hitchin has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman patient during a consultation.
Doctor Harmadan Singh said he asked to see the woman's pubic hair because he thought she might be suffering from a hormone imbalance.
But the 30 year old woman told the jury later in the meeting with the psychiatrist he got her to pull down her trousers a second time.
She said throughout her two appointments with Doctor Singh, he had constantly wanted to talk about sexual matters with her.
"I couldn't change the subject. It would always go back to my partner at the time and our sex life," she said.
The 67 year old married psychiatrist was found guilty by a majority verdict of a charge of sexually assaulting the woman in March 2011 in his office at the mental health unit at the Queen Ellizabeth 11 Hospital in Welwyn Garden City.
After the verdict St Albans crown heard Doctor Singh has been suspended and his registration is now at risk.
Judge John Plumstead was told he is unlikely to ever practice again and is living on his pension.
Passing sentence the Judge told the disgraced doctor what he had done was a "breach of trust" which had caused the woman anxiety and distress and led to a worsening on the condition she was seeking his help for.
The judge said he had developed a "profound attraction" for the woman and he went on "You used your position to touch her intimately which she would never have allowed."
He sentenced Singh who lives with his wife in Stevenage Road, Hitchin, Herts to 18 months imprisonment, but suspended it for two years.
Judge Plumstead told him that a condition of the suspended sentence was that in the future he couldn't work as a psychiatrist or counsellor without a chaperone being present.
He was told he must pay his victim - who the judge said had been vindicated - £1500 as well as the prosecution's costs of £3500 and his name will go on the sex offenders register for the next five years.
In early 2011, the victim was referred by her GP to the unit suffering from anxiety, depression and panic attacks. She had suffered a miscarriage and was separated from her husband. She also thought she was promiscuous and had issues about facial and body hair.
"He was asking questions about sex and who I had slept with. Some of the things he said I thought were a bit strange" she told the court.
She said she felt "awkward" talking about sex with the psychiatrist and said "I was desperate for help, so I carried on."
The woman said that as her session with the psychiatrist progressed, he again asked her to pull down her trousers for an intimate inspection to take place.
The woman said she thought it was weird, but added "I thought, he's a doctor. He is not someone who has just done a course off the internet."
The jury heard that the during the weeks that followed, Mr Singh rang the woman at home six or seven times.
In 2012 that the woman contacted Hertfordshire Police and Mr Singh was arrested.
Giving evidence 67 year old Singh, who qualified as a doctor in India in 1971, said he carried out an intimate inspection solely on medical grounds
He said he now accepted that a chaperone should have been present and the best way to check for a hormone imbalance would have been by a blood test.
After the verdict Detective Constable Liz Heath from the Sexual Offences Investigation Team, based at Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City, said: "Dr Singh was a man in a position of trust who preyed on a vulnerable victim under his care. The result indicates how seriously the courts take this type of crime and how Hertfordshire Constabulary will work tirelessly to ensure justice for the victims of sexual assaults and abuse."
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