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Judge will rule in doctor?s case in the new year

BY KEITH LACEY A Sudbury doctor accused of sexual impropriety against numerous female patients during a 30-year period will discover his fate Jan. 13.

A Sudbury doctor accused of sexual impropriety against numerous female patients during a 30-year period will discover his fate Jan. 13.

Justice Ian Gordon of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice will render his verdict against Dr. Richard Nanka-Bruce the second week of the new year.

Defence counsel David Humphrey and assistant Crown attorney Diane Fuller gave closing arguments Wednesday.

Nanka-Bruce has pleaded not guilty to five counts of sexual assault and three counts of indecent assault.

Eight complainants made similar allegations against Nanka-Bruce accusing him of sexually stimulating them while he was conducting internal
examinations. Three complained of improper breast examinations.

All of the complainants testified the examinations lasted several minutes. Nanka-Bruce testified that internal examinations should never last more than one minute, and he has denied any lengthy examinations took place.

Most of the complainants allege the assaults occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s, while others claim the incidents took place in the mid-1990s.

The defence asked that Nanka-Bruce be cleared of all charges. Humphrey suggested there was collusion among the complainants in this case.

?In essence, this case involves disturbingly different versions of events...this case is very much as assessment of reliability and credibility,? said Humphrey.

As with any allegations of historical sexual abuse, complainants can honestly believe certain incidents took place, even though there is compelling
evidence there was no abuse, said Humphrey.

?Demeanour (on the witness stand) is not enough,? he said. ?The focus must be on the context...the onus remains with the Crown to prove the allegations, and not on Dr. Nanka-Bruce, that it did not occur.?

Many of the complainants had problems such as drug and alcohol abuse, and there was strong evidence many of the witnesses knew each other making the possibility of collusion very strong, said Humphrey.

Nanka-Bruce?s testimony was strong, believable and credible and he was unshaken during intense cross-examination. His testimony alone should result in acquittals on all charges, he said.

Even if the court doesn?t accept all of his evidence, the court should have no difficulty finding reasonable doubt on all of the charges, said Humphrey.

The fact almost all of the witnesses admitted coming forward to police or the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons following media reports is also very troubling, said Humphrey.

The evidence is overwhelming that Nanka-Bruce ?couldn?t resist the temptation? to sexually stimulate patients he was physically attracted to, Fuller said.

Each complainant gave a detailed description of what happened to them and their evidence was ?unequivocal? and without ambiguity, she said.

?Their only motive was to tell the truth.?