No jail time for Medical Doctor
Dr. Franklyn Perkins has been given an 18 month suspended prison sentence for indecently assaulting a young woman on February 23rd last year. The 67 year old was ordered to pay the victim $10,000 within three months or in default serve a period of 6 months in jail. The sentence was handed down by Justice Ian Morley in the High Court on Monday March 12th, 2018.
Dr. Perkins was last year found guilty for inappropriately touching, grabbing and kissing the 19 year old during a doctor’s visit at his office in Cudjoe Head last year. The Medical Doctor has to date denied that he committed the act, insisting that it simply was a routine medical examination.
Justice Morley said he considered the statements given by persons who spoke in support of Dr. Perkins during his sentencing. The Judge said he also received a letter from some members of the medical fraternity on Montserrat who expressed surprise and disappointment at the guilty verdict.
The Doctors, in the letter, said they were concerned that a custodial sentence would cause severe hardship for Dr. Perkins and his family and negatively impact on his Private Medical Practice. The Judge acknowledged that Dr. Perkins abused his position as a doctor.
Justice Morley also found that there was a considerable breach of trust by the Doctor.
In the end, Justice Morley surmised that given his age and medical condition Dr. Perkins acted out of character when he committed the assault. In his Judgment, Justice Morley also denounced a public statement made by four Medical Doctors on Radio Montserrat on March 3rd 2017.
The Doctors, Ingrid Buffonge, Bramiah Kassim, Asher Gopal, and Krishna Gopaul released the statement of support for Dr. Perkins, expressing the fear of unsubstantiated claims of assault against other medical practitioners. However, Justice Morley warned against the practice of discussing in the media matters pending before the court.
He endorsed the statement made by the Director of Public Prosecution Orris Sullivan who criticized the doctors for not allowing due process to run its course.
The High Court Judge also spoke at length about the impact the case has had on the victim and her family.
The young woman informed the court of verbal attacks on her character and her family as a result of the trial.
The 19 year old Guyanese woman has allegedly received threatening messages via whatsapp and other media platforms causing her to deactivate her social media accounts ahead of the trial. According to Justice Morley, this assault on the victim’s reputation and that of her family indicates and undercurrent of racism, sexism and snobbery in the Montserrat society. The court said it found disturbing claims that the young woman, her family and the Guyanese community had been victimized for making the complaint against Dr. Perkins.
As a result, the Judge directed the Commissioner of Police to open an investigation into the complaints of harassment received by the victim. The young woman also told the court of other women in the community who told her of assaults they suffered at the hands of Dr. Perkins.
In light of this, Justice Morley ordered the Commissioner of Police to start an inquiry into these allegations. The court was also informed by the Judge about the possibility of a Commission of Enquiry into the conduct of Dr. Perkins, which if found culpable of malpractice, may result in him being struck off the medical register. Although Justice Morley expressed no opinion so as not to influence the outcome of that investigation, he advised that no local medical doctor is asked to sit on the committee. Shortly after the judgment was handed down, a relieved Dr. Perkins left the court room and embraced his wife and other family members present.