An Indian-origin doctor of Australia has been jailed for six years for raping a woman seven times in just one night and also taking pictures of his actions with his mobile phone.
A County Court jury found Arvind Sharma, 37, guilty last month of seven counts of rape and three counts of indecent assault over the attacks in December 2006.
AdvertisementSharma and his victim, then 24, were known to each other and previously had consensual sex.
The two were night-clubbing in Bendigo before returning to Sharma's house were the attacks took place, the court heard.
In his 2006 police interview, Sharma said he was shocked at the allegations. He said the victim was ''out of it'' but not ''comatose''. ''She was out of it. She wasn't passed out but she was out of it,'' Sharma said. ''She was drunk and I was drunk.''
Asked if the woman was consenting, Sharma said: ''By saying that, she didn't say no. We were kissing, cuddling ... in a drunk sort of way so there was no 'no way' or anything like that.''
Sharma said he told the woman he was going to take photos, to which she mumbled: ''Do whatever you want''. ''She wasn't really that responsive to the fact I was doing that. She was just lying there ... she was drunk, I was drunk,'' Sharma, who estimated he took four or five photos, said.†
Detectives asked if during previous occasions of sex, the woman had discouraged anal sex, and if so, why Sharma pursued it on the night in question.
He told them she had, but on this particular night, ''she didn't object at all''. ''She wasn't unaware of the situation. If it was a problem, she would have corrected it. It wasn't as if she wasn't in a position to say no.''
The detectives said the woman maintained that she was unable to say no. He replied: ''The whole dynamics of the situation to ask someone if yes or no, that never happens, but she was consenting, to my assessment of the situation.''
In sentencing this morning, Judge Frank Shelton said the woman refused Sharma's advances while she was lying on his bed.
But when he persisted 10 minutes later, she did not complain.
Sharma believed the woman to be drunk but in actual fact she was only pretending in order for him to stop, the judge said.
During cross-examination, the woman said she was scared of Sharma, but Judge Shelton said that evidence was not particularly strong.
Judge Shelton said Sharma was of previous good character and had high standing in the Bendigo community.
He said Sharma's jail term would have an effect on Bendigo given the documented difficulties in attracting GPs to country areas.
The judge said there were several character references including from patients of Sharma who said they were happy to continue being treated by him even after the charges were laid.
Sharma was jailed for six years and he will be eligible for parole in†four years.
Several women cried - including his fiancee, a pharmacist - as Judge Shelton sentenced him, Adrian Lowe said, reporting for†The Age.
The Bendigo Advertiser has†clarified that the Dr Arvind Sharma referred to in the story is in no way related to another doctor with a similiar name who practices medicine in Bendigo.