A “HIGHLY charged and highly inflammatory” atmosphere of public hysteria orchestrated by police and the media was the catalyst for so many women coming forward to make allegations of sexual and indecent assault against Newcastle doctor Jeremy Coleman, a Newcastle District Court jury has been told.
Defence barrister Pauline David began her closing address on Wednesday by denouncing what she said was a “highly prejudicial” atmosphere in the aftermath of Dr Coleman’s arrest in March, 2016.
Ms David said the immediate media reports included “predatory and inflammatory language”, including that Dr Coleman was accused of “preying on women”, and incorrectly described him as working solely as an “allergist”. “The complainants were right from the outset called victims,” Ms David said. Dr Coleman was described as committing offences. Allegations were said to include penetration and groping. Upon his arrest, police called upon more people to come forward.”
Ms David told the jury that it was in this atmosphere of “public hysteria” that many of the victims changed their opinion about their consultation with Dr Coleman.
“It was these circumstances which led a number women who had seen him to view him through different eyes,” Ms David said.
“When you take away the hysteria involved in this trial what you are left with is a doctor going about his business. In a very committed and comprehensive way.”
Dr Coleman, 64, a well-known general physician, allergy and immunology specialist, has pleaded not guilty to more than 60 counts of sexual and indecent assault against 45 female patients between 1989 and 2013.