News / Toronto

Patient tries to stop Ontario regulator from forcing her to testify at doctor's sex abuse hearing

The lawyer for the patient says he will be bringing a motion to quash the college’s summons for the woman to testify.

Dr. Suganthan Kayilasanathan is accused of writing two doctor’s notes in 2010 to help a patient avoid taking exams, and of having sex with the patient at a Mississauga hotel.

ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE / Torstar News Service

Dr. Suganthan Kayilasanathan is accused of writing two doctor’s notes in 2010 to help a patient avoid taking exams, and of having sex with the patient at a Mississauga hotel.

A former patient, who refuses to testify at the discipline hearing of the doctor accused of sexually abusing her, wants to stop Ontario’s medical regulator from forcing her to attend.

A lawyer for Patient A, whose name is covered by a publication ban, told a five-member discipline panel of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario on Thursday that he will be bringing a motion to quash the college’s summons for the woman to testify.

Lawyer Neil Perrier said the patient maintains she’s being “coerced” by the college into testifying against Toronto doctor Suganthan Kayilasanathan, and refuses to appear.

The hearing was adjourned until Nov. 20 for legal arguments on the motion.

“The college certainly does not agree that there has been coercion with respect to this patient,” college lawyer Carolyn Silver told the panel.

She said the patient previously consented to the college accessing her medical records and was co-operative in the early part of the college’s investigation.

Silver said the college has begun the process of asking a Superior Court judge to enforce the summons and issue what is known as a bench warrant.

“If granted, my client will be arrested by the police and forced to attend this hearing,” Perrier told the panel.

The college alleges Kayilasanathan wrote the patient two doctor’s notes within the span of a week in 2010 to avoid taking exams, and that the two had sex one night during that week at a Mississauga hotel.

He denies the allegations. If found guilty of sexual abuse, Kayilasanathan will automatically be stripped of his licence.

The patient never complained to the college; the regulator became aware of her case from another doctor. Physicians are required by law to report to the college when they become aware of doctors and patients having sex.

The college’s position on the summons is different than in a previous case involving Kayilasanathan this past spring.

Along with another doctor, Amitabh Chauhan, he was facing a discipline proceeding on professional misconduct charges for allegedly drugging and sexually assaulting a woman. (The pair had been acquitted of the same allegations in 2014 following a high-profile judge-alone criminal trial. The burden of proof at the college level is lower than in criminal court.)

But the alleged victim in that case also did not appear to testify, and in that instance, Silver, who was also the college’s lawyer on that case, said the college would not be enforcing the summons and withdrew the allegations against the two doctors.

“The process of testifying has been gruelling and has had a significant detrimental impact on Ms. X,” said a letter from the woman’s lawyer that Silver read into the record in May. “She is simply not able to subject herself to the psychological, emotional and physical harm of another hearing.”

In that case as well, the woman had not complained to the college. The regulator launched its own investigation in the wake of the criminal trial.

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