Acquitted doctor Jeremy Coleman wants costs, remaining charges dropped

ACQUITTED: Dr Jeremy Coleman during his year-long Newcastle District Court trial. He was ultimately acquitted of 50 counts of sexual and indecent assault. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers LAWYERS for a doctor acquitted of 50 counts of sexual and indecent assault after the longest criminal trial in Newcastle’s history have applied to have the remaining charges against him dropped and are seeking the prosecution pay costs that will run into the millions of dollars.
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Newcastle general physician Dr Jeremy Coleman, a well-known allergy and immunology specialist, was last month found not guilty of 50 counts of sexual and indecent assault against patients at his Watt Street practice after a year-long trial in Newcastle District Court.

But after deliberating for 36 days, the jurywere deadlocked on the remaining 16 counts.

Judge Penny Hock brought the trial to an end on September 3, discharging the jury, and adjourned the remaining charges to the Newcastle District Court list to get a new trial date.

But on Thursday, DPP solicitor Hamish Fitzhardinge told Judge Roy Ellis that lawyers for Dr Coleman had filed submissions calling for no further proceedings on the outstanding counts.

No determination had been made by the DPP whether or not they would press on with another trial after the 50 acquittals.He also said Dr Coleman’s defence, Sydney-based Laxon Lex Lawyers and barrister Pauline David, would be making an application for costs.A conservative estimate of Dr Coleman’s defence runs into the millions of dollars.

The costs application will have to be heard by Judge Hock, likely in Sydney where she sits most of the year.

The matter was adjourned until December 13 for both parties to file cost application submissions and to determine the DPP’s attitude to the no further proceedings application.

The issue in Dr Coleman’s marathon trial waswhether or not he had a proper medical purpose to conduct the internal and external examinations that his patients complained about.

And, through their verdicts, the jury must have believed Dr Coleman’s defence when they repeatedly said his only purpose fortouching or examining those patients was not a sexual one, but a medical one.

Asked at the conclusion of the trial last month if the 50 not guilty verdicts were a win for him personally, Dr Coleman replied: “It’s a win for medicine”.

Dr Coleman did not have to appear in court on Thursday.

He remains on conditional bail, his life still on hold and the status of his medical license –suspended by the Medical Council of NSW n 2016 – awaiting the outcome of the criminal proceedings.