Man saw nurse touch patient's genitals

A WITNESS in the trial of a 40-year-old Rockhampton nurse says he saw him touch the genitals of a male patient for a few seconds before surgery.

Allan Alfred White pleaded not guilty in the Rockhampton District Court yesterday morning to two charges of sexual assault and one of indecently touching a child under 16 at Rockhampton Hospital between October 2007 and January 2008.

The three patients were unconscious on the operating table when the offences allegedly occurred.

White had been acting as an anaesthetic nurse. Yesterday afternoon Judge John Newton adjourned the trial until this morning for closing addresses by the defence and prosecution.

Jeffrey Hassan, an operation services officer at the hospital, gave evidence yesterday that he assisted at an operation on January 28, 2008 where surgery was performed on a man with an elbow injury.

Mr Hassan said he saw White place his hand inside the patient's underpants and “shake or wiggle” the man's genitals for a few seconds. He was asked by Judge Newton whether he was concerned when he saw the action. “I did not think it was appropriate. I've positioned these patients for a number of years and I've never had to put my hand in that position,” Mr Hassan said.

Asked by defence lawyer John Allen whether White's actions were consistent with checking whether the man's genitals were squeezed, Mr Hassan responded that he was not sure.

In other evidence, Dr Dean Haydon, an anaesthetic registrar at the hospital in October 2007, said he was present when one of the acts allegedly occurred against a 14-year-old boy. Asked by Mr Allen whether it may be necessary for an anaesthetic nurse to touch the genitals of a patient, he said it was reasonable for a nurse to make sure they were not “snagged or caught in a bolster”.



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