Bunbury doctor stands trial

Headshot of Tim Clarke
Tim ClarkeSouth Western Times
Priyantha Padmike Dayananda arrives at Perth District Court this week.
Camera IconPriyantha Padmike Dayananda arrives at Perth District Court this week. Credit: Daniel Wilkins / The West Australian

A Bunbury doctor is this week standing trial in Perth’s District Court over the alleged rape of a patient in an emergency department cubicle.

Priyantha Padmike Dayananda allegedly raped a vulnerable patient as she lay in agony at the Bunbury Hospital — and then texted her to say he would “love to kiss your tummy again”.

During the first day of the trial on Tuesday, the court was told Dr Dayananda was on duty at the hospital in December 2017 when the woman came in to the ED in considerable pain from complications following surgery months before.

The mother had previously been an in-patient at the same hospital, after needing emergency surgery on her stomach following a violent domestic incident.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


And it was there, the jury was told, she had first met Dr Dayananda as one of her treating physicians in his role as a surgical registrar.

Giving evidence, the woman told the court he had paid her “special attention” that two-week stay, visiting her on his own almost daily, asking her out, offering to show her WA and stroking her hair.

The woman said she remembered him as the “sleazy one”.

After being discharged in October, she returned to the hospital in December after her surgical wound became infected.

And it was on that day, she said, his interest in her took a sinister turn.

She claimed that after pulling the cubical curtains closed and placing his hands on her stomach, they moved down to touch her intimately beneath her underwear, while he continued to ask her out and commented on her cleanliness.

“I told him I had to go to the toilet and then ran out of the hospital as fast as possible,” she told the court,

Prosecutor Joel Grinceri told the jury after the alleged rape, the woman began receiving repeated calls and texts to her mobile from the same doctor.

She saved the contact number in her phone as “Sleaziest slyest Doctor” – which Mr Grinceri said was a “secret phone” the doctor kept hidden from other people.

And in those texts, the sender said he was the doctor “who touched your beautiful tummy at the emergency”. “Sorry if I hurt you,” one of the messages said.

Dr Dayananda denies the charge.

And his lawyer Simon Watters told the jury that when the woman was asked to pick out her assailant on a photo board of doctors working at the hospital that day, she identified another physician.

That same doctor, who worked in the same department, had used Dr Dayananda’s phone to message and call the woman, Mr Watters said.

The trial is scheduled to run for five days.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails