Where sex-assault doctor will practise again
A Brisbane doctor who sexually assaulted a female patient will be allowed to practise at a suburban clinic and for a home doctor service, but can have no contact with female patients.
Dr Ramin Harirchian last year was found guilty by a jury of the sexual assault of a woman in a consulting room of a Brisbane suburban practice.
He was sentenced in December, last year, to eight months' imprisonment, suspended after three months.
The doctor had told the patient she looked sexy, slapped her on the bottom and asked how much sex she and her husband had, before touching her vagina with his bare hand, a court heard.
He then put his fingers in his mouth and said he wanted to lick her, before the woman moved away. He later told her he had an erection, the judge who sentenced him said.
Harirchian was released from jail on February 26, after the days he had already spent in custody before the sentence were counted as time already served.
He also pleaded guilty last year to 18 fraud charges, two counts of attempted fraud and possession of dangerous drugs and was fined $6000, with no conviction recorded.
Harirchian had obtained drugs for himself by putting patients' names on scripts that he presented at pharmacies.
After the Health Ombudsman suspended Harirchian's registration in May, he sought a review in Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
On December 18, a QCAT judicial member set aside the suspension order and imposed conditions on Harirchian's registration.
The doctor cannot have any contact with female patients, even by phone or video link.
He is only allowed to practise at Smart Clinics Chermside and with Hello Home Doctor Service, based at Springfield Lakes.
The doctor must have a chaperone if a female accompanies a child or patient who lacks capacity into a consulting room, or he is called to a home to treat a child or patient who lacks capacity, when a female will be present.
Dr Harirchian's review had to be heard before a different tribunal after an assessor on an original panel hearing the case made inappropriate comments outside the courtroom.
During a break in the first hearing, the assessor spoke to two law students who had been in the public gallery.
The assessor told them that no one would continue to seek treatment from a doctor if they knew they had been convicted of the same offences as Harirchian.
The assessor also said most people would agree with the suspension of the doctor after conviction for such offences and that Harirchian should not be practising as a medical doctor.
The assessor also said the doctor should be suspended, the case was "boring'' and it was "quite clear what the outcome would be''.
A tribunal judicial member found a fair-minded observer might reasonably believe the assessor might not have brought an impartial mind to competing arguments during the hearing.
The judge said it was necessary for him to recuse himself and for the case to be heard before a tribunal with a different member and assessors.*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as Where sex-assault Brisbane GP will practise again