A Newcastle immunologist on trial for abusing dozens of women has argued vaginal and anal examinations he performed on patients were for medical, not sexual reasons.
Jeremy Michael Stafford Coleman, 64, is charged with 66 sexual and indecent assault offences.
The District Court heard that the offences allegedly happened over 20 years to 2013 at clinics in Newcastle and Kanwal on the NSW central coast.
Defence barrister Pauline David has argued all of Coleman’s examinations were done for a medical purpose and not a sexual one.
“What I want to say is the issue in this trial is about proper medical purpose … His only reasons for touching women was a medical reason,” Ms David said.
“He practiced medicine in a very sophisticated way and the approach he took was to look at all of the body’s systems and their relationships.”
Ms David said any sensitive questions regarding a patient’s sex life were proper questions and there was a good reason for the internal examinations.
Crown says doctor had sexual motive
Crown prosecutor Paul Marr told the District Court that Coleman did not have a proper medical purpose to do the examinations, some of which he alleged were done without gloves.
Mr Marr said Coleman would often begin a consultation by discussing his patients’ allergy problems, then direct the conversation to sexual matters.
“The evidence is that very few patients resisted as they took him to be a specialist,” Mr Marr said.
He said the internal examinations were not proper and fell outside the scope of proper medical purpose.
“Some described their examinations as forceful, extreme, painful and uncomfortable,” he said.
Jeremy Coleman practiced at clinics in Newcastle and Kanwal on the NSW central coast. (ABC News: Giselle Wakatama )
Mr Marr also alleged Coleman would watch women get undressed before examining them without a gown and on a bed without linen, claims rejected by the defence.
The Crown prosecutor also alleged that Coleman would ask some women to get on all fours to administer nasal spray.
“The doctor would tell them they were using their nasal spray incorrectly,” he said.
“He said they needed to get down on all fours, put their bottoms up in the air and spray,” Mr Marr said.
“It was suggested that this would also benefit their husbands if they were in that position.”
The defence did accept that Coleman would sometimes ask women to get on all fours to administer their nasal spray.
But barrister Pauline David said nothing that her client did was not proper or inappropriate.
“It is a proper position … it might have looked odd, but it was for a proper medical purpose,” Ms David said.
Ms David also denied that her client ever had an erection while treating patients and was gentle during examinations.
“The suggestion that he had sexual intent is absolutely in dispute, as is the suggestion that he was forceful, angry and rough,” she said.
Coleman graduated in 1978 before working in hospitals in Sydney and Newcastle.
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