Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Deportation awaits MD who assaulted patient

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A doctor who sexually assaulted an incapacitated teenaged patient at the Children's Hospital will be deported once he is released from prison.

A Manitoba judge must decide when that might happen.

The Crown is seeking up to seven more years behind bars for Walid Abdelhamid, saying he committed a "predatory" breach of trust that cries out for deterrence.

But defence lawyers say Abdelhamid, who hails from Libya, should be freed immediately because the time he's spent in custody far exceeds sufficient punishment.

Queen's Bench Justice Joan McKelvey reserved her decision after hearing arguments Tuesday. Her ruling isn't expected until the fall.

Abdelhamid, 33, was convicted of sexual assault following a trial earlier this year. He was working at Health Sciences Centre in 2009 when he twice assaulted the 15-year-old boy, who had suffered a serious back injury while riding a motorbike.

The now-18-year-old told court he awoke twice in the middle of the night to find Abdelhamid fondling him. Both incidents occurred when he was immobilized and receiving morphine for pain.

A key issue at trial was the youth's state of mind as a result of being medicated. Defence lawyer Marty Minuk repeatedly suggested the boy may have been too high to comprehend what happened. But the youth said he knew what happened.

The first incident happened around 2 a.m. The teen said he woke up and found Abdelhamid hovering over him, touching his genitals.

The incident lasted a few seconds before a nurse walked in and Abdelhamid quickly pulled his hands back and left the room.

The teen said when he woke up around 5 a.m., Abdelhamid was attempting to perform oral sex on him.

Abdelhamid fled again, and this time the teen rang the buzzer to summon a nurse and disclose what had happened. His parents were notified and police were called.

Minuk questioned Tuesday how much impact the crime has really had on the victim.

He told court the teen has since returned to motocross racing and has had another accident, which landed him back in hospital.

But prosecutor Adam Bergen scoffed at the suggestion that returning to the sport he loves is somehow a sign the teen wasn't traumatized by the incidents.

He said the teen's parents stayed at his bedside 24/7 during his later hospital stay because he was afraid to be alone.

The judge must assess Abdelhamid's pre-trial custody.

Abdelhamid was released on bail following his arrest, but fled the country and ended up in Greece. He was arrested and returned to Canada in May 2011 and has remained in custody since.

Abdelhamid spent nine months in custody in Greece, and has now been incarcerated for 27 months in Canada.

Minuk argued Tuesday those 27 months should be given double-time credit of 54 months because his arrest pre-dates legislative changes banning the two-for-one credit.

As a result, Minuk claims his client has already served the equivalent of a 63-month sentence.

He said other precedents in Canada show a range of one to three years is proper punishment, which would allow Abdelhamid to be freed and deported immediately.

The Crown argued Tuesday Abdelhamid should be given no credit for his pre-trial custody because he is the author of his own demise, having fled while on bail.

The Crown is seeking an additional six or seven years behind bars.

Minuk called that "vengeful."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 31, 2013 A4


Updated on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 9:11 AM CDT: Corrects typo

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