Complainants’ evidence suppressed in doctor trial

Evidence from 14 men alleging indecencies by a Christchurch doctor has been suppressed until later in the three-week Christchurch District Court trial.

Judge Jane Farish made the order as the trial of Rakesh Kumar Chawdhry, 62, began today on 15 charges of indecent assault and one charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection.

Chawdhry denied all the charges at the start of the judge-alone trial, which will be held almost completely in closed sessions for the first two weeks while the complainants give their evidence.

Judge Farish said she may then lift the suppression order and allow reporting of the details of the complainants’ evidence. Details of the indecencies described in the opening address by Crown prosecutor Pip Norman have also been suppressed until then.

Closed court sessions are normal while complainants give evidence in trials involving sexual allegations.

Paul Wicks QC and Kerry Cook appear for Chawdhry and Miss Norman and Barnaby Hawes appear for the Crown.

The charges relate to men aged from 21 to 38 attending a clinic in Christchurch. Dr Chawdhry, who trained in India and commenced work in Christchurch in 2011, was arrested in June 2016.

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