Dirty doctor who filmed female patients during appointments is jailed

A dirty doctor who secretly filmed female patients for sex kicks during appointments in a “massive violation” has been jailed.

Sneaky pervert Dr Thair Altaii covertly recorded women during consultations at his surgery in a gross breach of trust, Chronicle Live reports.

He was found to have taken and retained 19,000 images and videos of women during visits to see him at the practice where he was a partner.

The 55-year-old had denied three voyeurism charges between 2008 and 2014 in relation to two female patients and more than 300 pictures but jurors convicted him after a trial last month.

Now Altaii, who is likely to be struck off by the General Medical Council later this year, has been jailed for 14 months at Newcastle Crown Court .

As he was sentenced, victim impact statements from the two victims were read to the court.

One said: “In the one place you ought to feel safe, I have suffered a massive violation at the hands of the person I trusted with my personal problems.

“I have never been a confident person and I do all I can to avoid being photographed or videoed by anybody, even my own family.

“He violated his position of trust for his own gratification and for no other reason.

“It makes me feel physically sick to think what the images were used for.”

The other victim said she “shuddered to think” how long he had been taking images of her, saying that she became “extremely distressed” as she learned of the amount of material that the doctor had stored.

In her statement, the victim said: “I trusted him with my privacy without question.

“I can’t believe his disregard for my privacy. You should be able to trust your doctor with private matters as they are the people who make life-changing decisions on your behalf.

“I cannot fully express how completely broken I feel because of the actions of Dr Altaii.”

Locking him up and ordering him to sign the sex offenders’ register for ten years, Judge Edward Bindloss said Altaii had “secretly and surreptitiously” recorded patients without their consent or knowledge.

He added: “Victims were being recorded in the doctor’s surgery, a place where they should have been able to feel safe.”

During his trial, jurors heard that when police examined his laptop, they found 19,000 images of women, “some clothed and others in various states of undress”, which were “apparently taken in the surgery environment”.

Altaii, of White Rocks Grove, Whitburn, South Tyneside, claimed he took the footage for training and self-assessment purposes.

He even claimed in relation to one of the pictures: “You see the thong, I see the scoliosis.”

The recovered images of one of the complainants, which were shown to the jury, included her in a bra, putting on or taking off a dress, having her chest listened to, lifting her dress up, pulling her top up, putting on or taking off knickers or shorts, standing in her underwear and with her buttocks exposed.

A video clip was played to the court, which shows Altaii appearing to ready the mobile phone to record before saying “Yes, come in” to the patient.

The young woman, wearing a vest top, talks to him about her studies and he tells her tests with have come back fine.

He then takes her blood pressure and appears to check her chest with a stethoscope.

She complains about pains in her legs and another clip shows footage of her removing her tights and he examines her legs on a bed.

Alternative angles of the initial consultation and of the leg examination – allegedly taken from a second mobile phone – were also played.

The woman said she was not asked for consent for the taking of the pictures, nor would she have given it.

Prosecutor Louise Reevell told the court: “Matters came to the attention of the police in August 2014 when one of the defendant’s patients contacted the police with concerns following an appointment with the defendant during, which she noticed two mobile phones propped up in a consultation room.

“One was propped up on the defendant’s desk, pointing towards the patient’s chair, a second was propped up on a shelf overlooking the examination table in the same room.”

As a result of what the woman told police, Altaii was arrested and items were seized from his home, including a Dell computer.

Miss Reevell said: “They found more than 19,000 images of women.

“Some were clothed, others were in various states of undress and the images were apparently taken in the surgery environment.

“They also found video clips of patients being examined.”

Police identified one woman on the footage, of whom there were 223 images as well as a video clip of a consultation.

Miss Reevell said: “(The complainant) was completely unaware she was being recorded and had not consented.

“She saw the images and thought they were taken over a three to four year period from looking at her hairstyle and clothing. All without consent.”

A further 116 images were found of another woman, as well as a video clip.

She told police she had not consented to any footage being taken of her during appointments and added: “I would have refused if asked.”

The woman viewed the pictures that had been found of her and said she had not given permission for any of them to be taken.

The woman told police she had noticed a propped up phone, which she thought may be an iPhone, on the doctor’s desk during an appointment but had initially thought it may have been left in that position after he had been tidying. She said it was when she saw the second phone, which she thought may be a Blackberry, overlooking the examination area.

When Altaii was re-interviewed by police, he gave a prepared statement accepting he had recorded nine medical consultations of female patients without making them aware.

He claimed the purpose was to “engage in self-assessment about his examination technique” and admitted making an error of judgement.

During a subsequent interview, he was shown some of the images recovered. He said they were taken for “training purposes” and he was analysing the consultations and may use them for diagnosis at a later date.

Jamie Hill QC, defending, said Altaii, who worked in the North East between 2008 and 2014 after arriving from Iraq, had no previous convictions, has lost his good name and reputation and will “undoubtedly lose his profession” after a General Medical Council hearing later this year.

Mr Hill added: “He has brought shame on his family, there’s been a severe impact on his children and they have had the most public of humiliations as it’s a case which, quite understandably, has attracted much publicity.”

Mr Hill said references showed Altaii had been an able and respected doctor and has not worked as a GP for four years, since the allegations first surfaced.

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