Small-town doctor loses sex assault appeal

Dr. Farrokh Rohani always maintained his innocence, but he won’t be getting a new trial

Dr. Farrokh Rohani always maintained his innocence, but he won’t be getting a new trial.

On Tuesday, the B.C. Court of Appeal upheld his conviction for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old male patient.

“Unlike many other sexual assault trials, this was not a case in which the judge had only the trial testimony of the complainant and the accused on which to base her decision,” wrote Chief Lance Justice Finch in his decision supported by two other judges.

Rohani was the only medical doctor serving the small North Island community of Port Alice when he was arrested in August 2008, after the teenager accused him of sexual assault.

Two years later, during a judge-alone trial in Campbell River, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Marion Allan found him guilty of sexual assault.  He was later sentenced to one year in jail and placed on the national sex offender’s registry for 20 years.

“Mr. Rohani was, in many ways, the ideal doctor for that community,” said Justice Allan, during the sentencing hearing in August 2010. “

But, she added, the sexual assault was a “tremendous…betrayal” to the the victim’s family who were also affected by the doctor’s arrest. Afterwards, they felt ostracized in the community and eventually moved away.

Rohani, now 61, also spoke at the sentencing hearing and maintained his innocence.

“I am of a different opinion than you,” he told the judge. “We came to this country because we felt it was a fair country. Obviously, my family feels otherwise.”

Rohani, a member of the Baha’i faith, fled Iran with his family due to religious persecution.

But Justice Allan appeared unmoved by the comments, stating that Rohani had shown no remorse for his actions against the young patient who considered the doctor a role model.

In upholding the guilty verdict, Chief Justice Finch wrote that the trial judge relied on taped conversations Rohani had with the RCMP, along with the testimony, in rendering her verdict.