Doctor facing sex-related charges loses bid to stop hearing
Dr. Alan Cockeram wanted court to suspend probe by College of Physicians and Surgeons
A judge has cleared the way for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick to resume its investigation of a Saint John doctor facing numerous sexual misconduct allegations.
Dr. Alan Cockeram's lawyers had argued the regulatory body's disciplinary hearing threatened his right to a fair trial on several criminal charges.
They had asked the Court of Queen's Bench to order the matter be suspended.
But Justice John Walsh disagreed.
"The court must be very careful not to unduly restrict the exercise by the college of [its] statutory authority or [its] duty to investigate and inquire into the allegations made," he stated in his 36-page decision
Cockeram did, however, win the right not to co-operate with the college's investigation of him.
"I can come to no other conclusion than that the risks to the applicant's fair trial are real and significant," the judge stated.
Cockeram, a 60-year-old gastroenterologist, is facing nine sexual assault charges dating back to 1987. Patients have alleged "unnecessary or inappropriate examination."
His lawyer has said police will soon lay 12 new charges against her client, pushing the total to 21.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons has received complaints about Cockeram from 19 people.
The complaints against Cockeram are the most against one New Brunswick doctor in the past 20 years.
A date for a preliminary hearing on the criminal charges is scheduled to be set on June 17.
Cockeram, who has been working in the Saint John area for more than 25 years, has elected to be tried by judge and jury.
Meanwhile, the college has imposed a temporary restriction on Cockeram's medical licence, prohibiting him from treating any women at his private office in the city's north end.
The Horizon Health Network has also stripped Cockeram of his privileges to treat female patients at any of its facilities.