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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 December, 2004, 13:06 GMT
Consultant jailed for sex assault
Mr Imad Al-Khawaja
Mr Al-Khawaja had denied two counts of indecent assault
A hospital consultant who hypnotised and sexually assaulted two female patients has been jailed for 27 months.

Imad Al-Khawaja, 48, of Valley Drive, Brighton, had denied indecent assaults on two women aged 20 and 47 at his clinic in June, Hove Crown Court heard.

Judge Richard Hayward told him he had taken advantage of two vulnerable women who had looked to him for help.

One of the women, a multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferer, later committed suicide because of her worsening illness.

Al-Khawaja was jailed for 15 months for indecently assaulting the woman and 12 months for committing a similar offence against a 20-year-old.

During the trial, the jury, which returned unanimous guilty verdicts, heard that the 20-year-old had felt violated and sick as Al-Khawaja fondled her at the hospital.

Your career and all that you have worked for is in ruins
Judge Richard Hayward

The MS patient contacted police after sessions with Al-Khawaja to report that she had been touched.

She told friends before her suicide last December that Al-Khawaja hypnotised her, asked explicit questions about her sex life and made her "feel like a slut", the court heard.

Father-of-three Al-Khawaja was a consultant in rehabilitation medicine and often used hypnotherapy to treat his patients.

Judge Hayward said he had taken into account the defendant's service at Brighton General Hospital but he must protect others.

The judge told told him: "Your career and all that you have worked so hard to achieve is in ruins.

"It is a tragedy for your family but it is a tragedy of your own making."

South Downs NHS Trust said it was reviewing Al-Khawaj's employment and that the General Medical Council was also reviewing his suspension from its register of doctors.

Hypnotherapist 'violated' women
16 Nov 04 |  Southern Counties

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