NSW GP claims indecent assault was tantric

By AAP Newswire

A Sydney doctor accused of indecently assaulting four women and a teenage girl at a Sydney sleep clinic has invoked kale juice and disgraced former sprinter Ben Johnson in his defence.

A District Court jury on Thursday retired to consider its verdict in the case of Ali Khorami, who is facing 25 charges including 21 counts of aggravated indecent assault.

The 49-year-old is accused of assaulting sleeping patients by placing his penis on them and masturbating in front of them during overnight studies at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research in Glebe in 2018.

He has also pleaded not guilty to drugging a woman by placing a sleeping tablet in her orange juice.

Khorami has admitted that he placed his penis on the hand of a 16-year-old girl but claimed that he did so consensually.

During the trial, he claimed that he was engaging in a form of "tantric healing" - a statement denied by the teenager, who said she never agreed because she didn't believe in alternative treatments.

In his closing address, Khorami's defence barrister Tony Evers said the teenage girl had agreed to the treatment after contracting an ear and throat infection and had failed to address the problem after seeing seven specialists.

He likened it to a previously "beer-guzzling" person turning to kale drinks and goji berries in an effort to address their bad habits and health problems.

"Because of serious health issues they can change their behaviour enormously," Mr Evers said.

During the trial, the crown prosecution played CCTV footage which Mr Evers described as unclear and inconclusive.

Mr Evers also told the jury that the woman he is accused of drugging would have noticed grit and a bitter aftertaste if she had been slipped a sleeping pill.

He said that while the drug itself, Temazepam, was soluble, other parts of the tablet were not.

The Crown has relied on a toxicology report of a urine sample the woman provided at the clinic, however, Mr Evers described their methods as "sloppy".

He argued that the sample could have been contaminated or mixed up at several points in the chain of custody.

He sought to draw a parallel with the 1988 Olympic Games 100-metre sprint final which was won by Johnson, a Canadian sprinter who was later stripped of his gold medal after testing positive for steroids.

Mr Evers argued that if the same methods were used to prosecute drug cheats in professional sport, they would be acquitted.

"That gold medal would be taking pride of place in Ben Johnson's trophy room because it would be an outrage if it wasn't," Mr Evers said.