This site is intended for health professionals only

GP acquitted of ‘assault’ after serving 15 months in prison

A GP from Birmingham has had his conviction of sexual assault of a patient overturned by the Court of Appeal after new evidence was found.

Dr Raj Mehta was charged with two counts of sexual assault in 2017 but convicted on just one count in April 2018 after he was found guilty by the jury of touching a patient’s breast during a consultation at The Hill Practice in Sparkhill, Birmingham.

The 65-year-old went to prison in 2018, but while serving the full 15-month sentence his legal team discovered new evidence demonstrating that his accuser lied under oath.

Dr Mehta won his appeal last month on 13 December and a full written judgement is expected to be published some time this month.

Dr Mehta expressed his ‘enormous’ relief and added that he is ‘very anxious’ for the medical profession that there are not adequate protections to safeguard doctors against false accusations.

The Medical Protection Society has now said it will help Dr Mehta to reverse the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service’s decision to remove his right to practise.

Dr Mehta said: ‘I would like to express my enormous relief that my name has been cleared, after three very difficult years. Over the past year, my wife and children have carried the burden and spearheaded a campaign to clear my name.

‘After my conviction, I lost everything. I lost my career after nearly 40 years of NHS service. I lost my reputation after adverse media coverage, not only following the conviction, but also following the medical regulator’s decision to strike me off the medical register, instead of waiting for the outcome of the ongoing appeal.’

He added: ‘I feel very anxious for the medical profession. Doctors work to do their very best for their patients, often in challenging circumstances, and there simply are not adequate protections to safeguard them against the few patients who make false accusations.’

Medical Director of MPS Dr Rob Hendry said: ‘We are delighted that Dr Mehta has been acquitted by the Court of Appeal. He and his family fought hard to clear his name and we are proud to have been able to support them in achieving this outcome.

‘False allegations can cause a loss of reputation, profession and income. Tragically in Dr Mehta’s case, they can also lead to a loss of liberty.

He added: ‘Trust is vital to the doctor-patient relationship. While such cases are very rare, it is vital that support and protection are in place to protect doctors and the wider profession from the threat of false accusations.

‘We will now support Dr Mehta in working to reverse the GMC’s decision to remove his right to practise on the basis of the now overturned conviction.’