Secret camera doctor ‘should skip jail’

Lawyers acting for a German doctor who was jailed for three-and-a-half years after he took 35,000 intimate photos of patients on a secret camera are calling for his sentenced to be revised.

Secret camera doctor 'should skip jail'
The gynaecologist said he had a dark side to him. Photo: DPA

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Lawyers acting for a German doctor who was jailed for three-and-a-half years after he took 35,000 intimate photos of patients on a secret camera are calling for his sentenced to be revised.

A state court in western Germany found the 58-year-old gynaecologist guilty of three counts of sexual abuse through misusing his position of trust and gross invasion of privacy after secretly photographing 1,400 women by hiding a camera in a draw.

But on Monday afternoon his lawyers filed for a revision of the Frankenthal state court's November 11th decision. They think that a suspended sentence would be more appropriate, as he did not show anyone the photos, nor inflicted physical pain on the women, the Süddeutsche newspaper reported.

Prosecutors pushed initially for a four-year sentence, but he received three-and-a-half, mostly for gross invasion of privacy. He also said he conducted vaginal examinations for his own sexual arousal rather than for medical reasons.

"I am ashamed," the 58-year-old doctor told the court in Frankenthal near Mannheim in Rhineland-Palatinate in September.

He spoke of a dark side to him, being unable to explain his actions over three years in any other way.

READ MORE: Man jailed for 13 years for job centre hammer attack

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More cases of monkeypox ‘expected’ in Germany, says ministry

The German Health Ministry is predicting that the monkeypox virus could spread further - but says the risk to the population is still low.

More cases of monkeypox 'expected' in Germany, says ministry

“Due to the diverse contacts of those currently infected, further cases of the disease are to be expected in Europe and also in Germany,” the ministry wrote in a report for the parliamentary health committee obtained by DPA. 

The rare disease, which is normally localised in West Africa, has recently emerged in Europe, Canada and Australia – though case numbers are still extremely low.  

“It is now an illness that has spread internationally,” the ministry report states. 

As of Sunday, there were four confirmed cases of infection and illness in Germany – one in Munich and three in Berlin. Health authorities are now attempting to analyse samples from further suspected cases and trace the contacts of confirmed cases.

Over the weekend, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases worldwide, including in 12 countries where the virus isn’t usually present. 

So far, the West African monkeypox variant has been detected in the infections found in Europe, but further genome analyses are still underway. 

None of the cases in Europe are thought to have been severe, and symptoms generally clear up within three weeks. However, to help contain the disease, people who notice any skin lesions – a key symptom of monkeypox – are advised to see their doctor straight away. 

In the UK and Belgium, people with a confirmed case of monkeypox are being asked to isolate for 21 days. So far, German authorities haven’t released standard guidelines for isolation. 

READ ALSO: Germany reports first monkeypox case

‘Usually mild’

According to health authorities, the virus usually causes only mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain and skin rash. However, more severe courses of the illness are possible. 

Unlike viruses such as Covid-19, which can spread through the air, very close contact with an infected person is required in order for monkeypox to be passed on. 

Experts have noted that many of the individuals who were confirmed to have the virus in Europe said they had recently had sexual contact with a new partner, which raises the likelihood that the recent monkeypox cases were transmitted sexually.

Given the limited ways the disease can spread and the tendency towards a mild course of disease, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is currently classifying the risk to the population as a whole as “low”. 

However, under the Infection Protection Act, doctors and laboratories are still required to track any insistences of the disease and pass information on to the public health authorities. 

Health experts are still investigating whether vaccination for contact persons or risk groups could be advisable. 

The Health Ministry believes that smallpox vaccinations, which were compulsory for children in West Germany until 1975 and in East Germany until 1982, could be effective against the disease.

According to the report, the German government has about 100 million doses of smallpox vaccine in storage.

Of these, two million doses were donated to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and stored for them.