A trusted doctor in Sunderland has been sentenced to 14 months in jail after secretly taking of pictures and videos of his patients.
Last month (July), Dr Thair Altaii, 55, was found guilty of three counts of voyeurism between 2008 and 2014.
The GP, of White Rocks Grove, Whitburn, was found to have more than 19,000 images of women on his laptop, some clothed and others in various stages of undress, after one of his patients raised concerns to police. A number of videos were also found on Altaii’s laptop and other equipment.
After being found guilty of all charges by a jury, Altaii was today (Tuesday, August 14) back at Newcastle Crown Court as the judge sentenced him to 14 months’ imprisonment.
Detective Constable Lee Boys, of Northumbria Police, said: “Thair Altaii clearly abused his position of trust and caused inevitable distress to his victims, who were totally unaware of what he was doing.
“He must now deal with the consequences of his actions, having destroyed his own professional career and reputation.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank his victims for the courage, determination and dignity they have shown throughout this investigation, and for their assistance at every step of the process.
“It is their bravery and willingness to inform police of Altaii’s suspicious behaviour that has resulted in his conviction, ensuring no more of his patients can become unwilling and unknowing victims.”
Altaii was arrested in August 2014 after a patient noticed two propped up mobile phones – one on his desk and another on a shelf overlooking the examination table – during an appointment and subsequently alerted police.
His laptop, along with other equipment, was subsequently seized by officers.
The doctor, who was suspended from his role after the allegations came to light, claimed the images were captured for his own assessment and training purposes.
He initially denied recording any of his patients without consent when first spoken to by police.
But during a later interview, he accepted recording nine medical consultations without permission of the patients or making them aware.
When shown some of the images recovered from his laptop, Altaii said they may have been produced automatically after filming appointments “for training reasons”.
The doctor pleaded not guilty to all charges at court and denied any of the images or videos were taken for sexual gratification.