Court clears doctor of sexual assault on patient
Nyore Madzianike Senior Court Reporter
A Harare doctor has been acquitted of abusing a female client who accused her of fondling her during medical examination.
Harare regional magistrate Mrs Gloria Takundwa yesterday found Dr Tinovimba Mhlanga not guilty of sexually abusing a woman who had visited his clinic to donate a fertilisation egg in March this year.
Dr Mhlanga, of Invitro Fertilisation Zimbabwe, was acquitted after being hauled to court on aggravated indecent assault charges.
Through his lawyer Mr Oliver Marwa, Dr Mhlanga denied the charges, saying Tinotenda Zowa had fabricated the accusations to soil his good practising reputation.
In acquitting Dr Mhlanga, Mrs Takundwa said the State had failed to establish evidence pointing out that Zowa was sexually abused during the time she intended to donate the egg.
Mrs Takundwa also said that there were inconsistencies in testimonies regarding how the alleged offence was committed.
The State led by Mrs Cecilia Mashingaidze had alleged that on March 14 this year, Zowa went to Dr Mhlanga’s surgery at around 1pm for medical examination since she wanted to donate her egg to a certain couple.
Dr Mhlanga allegedly first conducted HIV tests first and instructed her to go to the examination room.
It was alleged that while in the examination room, Zowa removed her clothes and wore a hospital gown.
She then went to lie on the bed awaiting the examination.
Allegations were that Dr Mhlanga instructed Zowa to open her legs in a butterfly position for him to conduct the examination before he inserted his fingers into her privates several times before fondling her breasts.
On March 15 Zowa reportedly went to Sally Mugabe Central Hospital (formerly Harare Hospital) where she was examined and received counselling after narrating her ordeal to the counsellors.
Through lawyer Mr Marwa, Dr Mhlanga refuted the allegations saying he professionally conducted his duties as a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist.
“He runs IVF Clinic in Harare. The clinic is mainly into assisting patients with problems in conceiving by facilitating donations of eggs from willing donors to patients who need help,” he said.
“The complainant is one such egg donor who presented at the accused’s clinic to donate her eggs to a couple in need.
“The procedure for human egg donation is a delicate one which under normal circumstances, can only be properly performed by a specialist doctor in a clinical set-up.
“The procedure naturally involves digital penetrative contact with the patient’s genitalia. The complainant consented in writing to the procedure after it was meticulously explained to her in detail such that the allegation in the charge that she had not consented are as malicious as they are unfounded.
“The accused acted within the scope of engagement of any professional specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist of his training and experience such that any allegations that he overstepped his boundaries are very unfortunate and unfounded,” he said.
He said Zowa was working with people who wanted to soil his good reputation, which also prompted her to post the alleged sexual abuse on social media.
“The complainant has betrayed her nefarious scheme by posting her alleged ordeal on social media and attempted to earn cheap sympathy.
“Unfortunately for the complainant, her story on the World Wide Web is inconsistent with her story to police and to the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe.
“The complainant is dramatising these hopeless allegations in a bid to add weight to the conspiracy aforesaid,” he said.