£5k compensation for sexual assault doctor

Hypnotherapist Imad Al-Khawaja

Hypnotherapist Imad Al-Khawaja

First published in News by

A traumatised patient of a doctor jailed for sex crimes on hypnotised women has branded a decision to hand him £5,000 damages a “slap in the face”.

Hypnotherapist Imad Al-Khawaja was called a “remorseless” abuser by a judge. When he was banned from medicine, he asked: “Am I bothered?”

Now the European Court of Human Rights has ordered the Government to pay the 52-year-old doctor compensation.

It said his rights were breached because he did not have the chance to cross-examine one of his victims – she committed suicide before the case reached court.

While judges did not overturn his conviction, they said he deserved compensation for “distress and anxiety” caused by the breach.

One 40-year-old woman, who gave evidence at Al-Khawaja’s trial that he abused her while she was one of his private patients, said: “Why should the perpetrator of these crimes receive compensation when I was awarded nothing? Where are my human rights?

“The decision is quite frankly a slap in the face for anyone whose trust was breached by this sick, vile individual.”

Doctor's victim

“I don’t know how he can have the audacity to claim for compensation in the first place.

“The decision is quite frankly a slap in the face for anyone whose trust was breached by this sick, vile individual.”

Dr Des Turner, MP for the Brighton Kemptown constituency which includes Brighton General Hospital where Al-Khawaja worked, condemned the court’s decision.

He said: “I really think this is an appalling judgment. I can’t understand it. The English courts convicted him with no shortage of evidence.

“It defies rational explanation whichever way you look at it. It is an absurd ruling.”

Al-Khawaja was a high-flying doctor at Brighton General when he put two patients into trances and indecently assaulted them five years ago.

He was sentenced to 27 months at a Hove Crown Court trial in 2004.

Judge Richard Hayward said: “This was an appalling breach of trust. You abused two vulnerable woman in your charge and under your control. You have not expressed any remorse for the distress you caused.”

When a disciplinary panel met in December to decide if he should be banned from medicine, Al-Khawaja sent them a letter quoting television comedian Catherine Tate: “Look at my face, am I bothered?”

As well as saying the evidence of his dead victim should not have been used, a claim thrown out by the UK Court of Appeal, Al-Khawaja said he was victimised because of his race.

He said: “If I had a European name with blue eyes and blond hair, there would not even have been a case against me.”

Al-Khawaja, a father of four who trained in Iraq, was employed by South Downs Health NHS Trust as a consultant in rehabilitation when he committed his crimes.

As well as Brighton, he worked at hospitals in Eastbourne and Worthing, Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre in Haywards Heath and saw patients at a private clinic in Hove.

He was convicted in 2004 of indecently assaulting two women, then aged 20 and 47, while they were hypnotised.

The 47-year-old, who had multiple sclerosis, committed suicide before the case reached court but the statement she gave to police was admitted as evidence.

She said Al-Khawaja asked her intimate questions about her sexual desires before indecently assaulting her. She said she was not fully hypnotised and could remember what happened.

The 20-year-old told the court: “None of it felt right but at the back of my head I kept thinking he was a doctor and it must be normal. But I felt sick and violated.”

Before it considered its verdict, the jury was warned about the case of the 47-year-old because her statement had not been tested in court.

It was told: “You must bear in mind when considering her evidence that you have not seen her evidence, you have not heard her give evidence and you have not heard her evidence tested in cross-examination.”

Al-Khawaja was handed consecutive 12-month and 15-month jail sentences after the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts.

In 2005 he appealed against the decision to allow the dead woman’s statement to go before the jury but was dismissed by the Court of Appeal. It said: “The evidence against the appellant was very strong.”

The House of Lords turned down a later appeal and Al-Khawaja appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

This court said the trial judge’s comments were not enough to balance the impact of jurors not seeing the witness cross-examined.

It said the trial contravened Al-Khajawa’s rights under Article Six of the 1950 European Convention On Human Rights, which entitles people to a fair trial and the right to crossexamine witnesses against them. It said he had “inevitably suffered a degree of distress and anxiety as a result”.

Al-Khawaja claimed £20,000 compensation but the court said this was speculative and awarded him 6,000 euros – £5,248.57 at current exchange rates – and £3,050 legal costs.

He is understood to have left the country.

Comments (15)

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7:06am Mon 9 Feb 09

magoo says...

I was under the impression that even under hypnosis you still can't go against your moral code. Surely he would have known that?
I was under the impression that even under hypnosis you still can't go against your moral code. Surely he would have known that? magoo
  • Score: 0

8:16am Mon 9 Feb 09

Jim BB says...

Wonderful, let's award more criminals money - then have their victims sue it and take it all off them. The original sentences were far too low anyway, these women would have been far more traumatised not just by what he did but his absolute betrayal of their trust.

And to assault a woman in his care who had MS is even more barbaric. Let's hope wherever he is now, they're keeping an eye on him so he can't assault women again.
Wonderful, let's award more criminals money - then have their victims sue it and take it all off them. The original sentences were far too low anyway, these women would have been far more traumatised not just by what he did but his absolute betrayal of their trust. And to assault a woman in his care who had MS is even more barbaric. Let's hope wherever he is now, they're keeping an eye on him so he can't assault women again. Jim BB
  • Score: 0

8:43am Mon 9 Feb 09

NoWaySeriously says...

"It said his rights were breached because he did not have the chance to cross-examine one of his victims – she committed suicide before the case reached court."

THIS is why the Europeans should just f*** off, especially their court of hippy, sorry, human rights. What a complete disgrace. THE WITNESS WASN'T EVEN AVAILABLE. So, what, we're going to give ALL convicted criminals a bit of cash if witness isn't available? What a complete joke.
"It said his rights were breached because he did not have the chance to cross-examine one of his victims – she committed suicide before the case reached court." THIS is why the Europeans should just f*** off, especially their court of hippy, sorry, human rights. What a complete disgrace. THE WITNESS WASN'T EVEN AVAILABLE. So, what, we're going to give ALL convicted criminals a bit of cash if witness isn't available? What a complete joke. NoWaySeriously
  • Score: 0

9:55am Mon 9 Feb 09

Voice of the silent Majority says...

How does this work in a murder case?
Or do we have to keep the "dead" person alive to give evidence
How does this work in a murder case? Or do we have to keep the "dead" person alive to give evidence Voice of the silent Majority
  • Score: 0

10:16am Mon 9 Feb 09

The Garden Slug says...

looks quite a dish, Id certainly pay £5,000 for a bit of 'hows your father' with him!
looks quite a dish, Id certainly pay £5,000 for a bit of 'hows your father' with him! The Garden Slug
  • Score: 0

10:41am Mon 9 Feb 09

Jay-kay says...

What a complete W**NKER that man is , but we have all the do gooders to blame for this, human rights for this and that.. when people have done bad things they have no human rights.. so thank all the do gooders for wrecking our country , this man should have had his balls .. chopped off,, in public oh and garden slug im glad this wasnt your daughter or wife who1s life he ruined.
What a complete W**NKER that man is , but we have all the do gooders to blame for this, human rights for this and that.. when people have done bad things they have no human rights.. so thank all the do gooders for wrecking our country , this man should have had his balls .. chopped off,, in public oh and garden slug im glad this wasnt your daughter or wife who1s life he ruined. Jay-kay
  • Score: 0

12:34pm Mon 9 Feb 09

Jonathon says...

It would seem there a lot of doctor for whom English is not their first language who get themselves into trouble. Is this because their standards are not as high as our own doctors?
It would seem there a lot of doctor for whom English is not their first language who get themselves into trouble. Is this because their standards are not as high as our own doctors? Jonathon
  • Score: 0

1:19pm Mon 9 Feb 09

magoo says...

Jonathon wrote:
It would seem there a lot of doctor for whom English is not their first language who get themselves into trouble. Is this because their standards are not as high as our own doctors?
LOL! Love a bit of racism on a Monday...
[quote][p][bold]Jonathon[/bold] wrote: It would seem there a lot of doctor for whom English is not their first language who get themselves into trouble. Is this because their standards are not as high as our own doctors?[/p][/quote]LOL! Love a bit of racism on a Monday... magoo
  • Score: 0

1:32pm Mon 9 Feb 09

Pontop Pike says...

The Garden Slug wrote:
looks quite a dish, Id certainly pay £5,000 for a bit of 'hows your father' with him!
So would I mush, and i`m not even a nudger!
[quote][p][bold]The Garden Slug[/bold] wrote: looks quite a dish, Id certainly pay £5,000 for a bit of 'hows your father' with him![/p][/quote]So would I mush, and i`m not even a nudger! Pontop Pike
  • Score: 0

1:34pm Mon 9 Feb 09

Alan G Skinner says...

"Al-Khawaja was a high-flying doctor at Brighton General when he put two patients into trances and indecently assaulted them five years ago."

"High flyer", working in the Brighton General; that's the most amusing thing i've heard all day!!

"Al-Khawaja was a high-flying doctor at Brighton General when he put two patients into trances and indecently assaulted them five years ago." "High flyer", working in the Brighton General; that's the most amusing thing i've heard all day!! Alan G Skinner
  • Score: 0

2:00pm Mon 9 Feb 09

stickman says...

Jay-kay wrote:
What a complete W**NKER that man is , but we have all the do gooders to blame for this, human rights for this and that.. when people have done bad things they have no human rights.. so thank all the do gooders for wrecking our country , this man should have had his balls .. chopped off,, in public oh and garden slug im glad this wasnt your daughter or wife who1s life he ruined.
W**NKER should only have one *
[quote][p][bold]Jay-kay[/bold] wrote: What a complete W**NKER that man is , but we have all the do gooders to blame for this, human rights for this and that.. when people have done bad things they have no human rights.. so thank all the do gooders for wrecking our country , this man should have had his balls .. chopped off,, in public oh and garden slug im glad this wasnt your daughter or wife who1s life he ruined.[/p][/quote]W**NKER should only have one * stickman
  • Score: 0

3:26pm Mon 9 Feb 09

Tye says...

magoo wrote:
I was under the impression that even under hypnosis you still can't go against your moral code. Surely he would have known that?
that's what they say in stupid TV progs - you cannot make a person do something such as murder

These poor victims were not actually doing anything - just being in a trance
[quote][p][bold]magoo[/bold] wrote: I was under the impression that even under hypnosis you still can't go against your moral code. Surely he would have known that?[/p][/quote]that's what they say in stupid TV progs - you cannot make a person do something such as murder These poor victims were not actually doing anything - just being in a trance Tye
  • Score: 0

3:43pm Mon 9 Feb 09

zamo28 says...

BBC tv that David Attenborough show did prove 100% that there is no God.That must mean there is no such thing as right or wrong,just man made laws.I think its time the poor started to see its been one big con.At the end of the day the rich just help the rich.
BBC tv that David Attenborough show did prove 100% that there is no God.That must mean there is no such thing as right or wrong,just man made laws.I think its time the poor started to see its been one big con.At the end of the day the rich just help the rich. zamo28
  • Score: 0

3:44pm Mon 9 Feb 09

sue.thepooh@virgi.net says...

Yet again the fantastic 'Human Rights' come to the aide of a pervert. Whoever put this stupid **** law through deserves to be b******d by the very criminals they are helping. What about the victims of these crimes, they get sod all for all the stress and axiety they have to go through, once again it shows that this country is just one big fat ****, lets hope when he got back home that his own country will metre out a suitable punishment!

Security word: Bone-song (how apt!)
Yet again the fantastic 'Human Rights' come to the aide of a pervert. Whoever put this stupid **** law through deserves to be b******d by the very criminals they are helping. What about the victims of these crimes, they get sod all for all the stress and axiety they have to go through, once again it shows that this country is just one big fat ****, lets hope when he got back home that his own country will metre out a suitable punishment! Security word: Bone-song (how apt!) sue.thepooh@virgi.net
  • Score: 0

7:56pm Mon 9 Feb 09

TheInsider says...

As he trained in Iraq, perhaps a just sentence would be for him to be sent to Iraq to treat people...somehow I don't think the filthy pervert would prey on women there in the same way as he would be likely to be stoned to death or have his nuts chopped off, unlike the UK where we have to listen to the drivel these nutters spout to escape responsibility.
And why was this man allowed to hypnotise women while on his own. In this day and age, this sort of practice should not be allowed without another female present.
As he trained in Iraq, perhaps a just sentence would be for him to be sent to Iraq to treat people...somehow I don't think the filthy pervert would prey on women there in the same way as he would be likely to be stoned to death or have his nuts chopped off, unlike the UK where we have to listen to the drivel these nutters spout to escape responsibility. And why was this man allowed to hypnotise women while on his own. In this day and age, this sort of practice should not be allowed without another female present. TheInsider
  • Score: 0
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