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Lawyers call for answers following sentencing of GP who sexually assaulted 24 patients

Lawyers have welcomed the sentence given to a GP who has been convicted of 90 sexual offences against 24 patients.

Posted on 07 February 2020

Solicitors from the abuse team at Leigh Day called for answers after Manish Shah, aged 50, of Romford, was handed three life sentences with a minimum of 15 years after he was found guilty of 90 counts of sexual assault and assault by penetration against 24 patients over a five-year period up to 2013.
He was sentenced for all the offences by Judge Anne Molyneux at the Old Bailey this morning.
She said Shah committed a “horrible breach of trust” and the offences were committed under the guise of medical examinations, after he selected young and vulnerable women.
Leigh Day Solicitors are representing one of the survivors of Shah’s abuse and say they are reassured that he won’t be able to prey on patients again.

Alison Millar, partner and head of the abuse team at Leigh Day, said:

“The women who suffered Shah’s abuse will have to live with the psychological consequences of his abuse.

“The fact that he was able to perpetuate his crimes for four years leaves many questions to be answered.

“How was Shah able to get away with assaulting so many women? Did colleagues have concerns about his behaviour?  How was he able to circumvent the surgery’s chaperone policy?

“I am concerned there should have been more information available for patients as to when intimate examinations are required.  The imbalance of power between a doctor and a patient makes it very difficult to challenge a doctor unless you are well informed.”

Alison said the fact that the case was in the news in the same week as the inquiry report was released into jailed breast cancer surgeon Ian Paterson also raised questions. She said: “It is difficult not to feel that something systemically has gone very wrong in the health service –  are the checks and balances on the authority of doctors sufficient?”

Shah’s crimes were committed during unnecessary examinations on the women patients. He preyed on some women’s cancer concerns to carry out invasive intimate examinations for his own sexual gratification. He referred to Angelina Jolie and Jade Goody to instil fear in his patients about their health.

Prosecutor Kate Bex QC told the trial:

"He took advantage of his position to persuade women to have invasive vaginal examinations, breast examinations and rectal examinations when there was absolutely no medical need for them to be conducted."

One of Shah's patients told the BBC:

"He would say you need to have these sexual health tests, to make sure you're safe . . . I thought if a doctor suggests it you pretty much go along with it. He just duped so many people. He used our weaknesses and fears and took complete advantage. But not one time did I actually think he was doing anything untoward."