June 22nd, 2024

Prelim hearing cancelled for doctor accused of 2017 sexual assault

By Peggy Revell on June 27, 2018.


A preliminary hearing was cancelled Tuesday for a Medicine Hat doctor charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a person with a disability, as defence counsel re-elected for a trial before a provincial court judge.

The preliminary hearing was booked only for one day, while two days is expected to be required for the trial.

The Crown told the court it was ready to use the time booked Tuesday to proceed with the trial and present its case with a second date.

Defence counsel expressed concern of being able to find a date to continue within a short period of time, due to Tuesday’s presiding judge being Judge Gerald DeBow from Lethbridge. Debow is a supernumerary judge, meaning he sits only part time.

Crown requested the adjournment be recorded as a request by defence.

A new trial date will be set down Aug. 2 at the Court’s Case Management Office, and following a pre-trial conference.

The preliminary hearing was originally set in February, with previous defence counsel electing the case be heard before a Queen’s Bench Judge. This counsel came off the record in May with local defence lawyer Robert Robbenhaar coming on board as counsel of record.

The charges against the doctor come from an alleged incident in June 2017, when an adult male patient attended a walk-in medical appointment and was allegedly sexually assaulted.

Police announced charges against Dr. Ian Gebhardt, 56, in August 2017. The accused practised at the Crescent Heights Family Medical Clinic, but has since withdrawn from practice.

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