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Vernon doctor guilty of sexual assault opts to go to jail early

FILE PHOTO
Image Credit: Cliff MacArthur/provincialcourt.bc.ca

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Vernon doctor Peter Inkpen tried to kiss a patient he'd taken out to lunch at a winery in Lake Country.

She pulled away and didn't kiss him but not long afterwards during an appointment, the doctor performed oral sex on her. She then performed oral sex on him.

Today, June 6, Dr. Inkpen sat at the Vernon courthouse listening as lawyers discussed how much jail time he should do. He pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual assault that were sworn in July 2022.

"Ms. Davies did not consent to Dr. Inkpen performing oral sex on her... Dr. Inkpen believed that Ms. Davies was consenting but Ms. Davies did not communicate her consent to him and Dr. Inkpen did not honestly believe that she did so," Crown prosecutor Alison Buchanan told the court.

In an unusual move, the victim, Hilary Davies, had the publication ban on her name removed.

The court heard how a week later the 44-year-old doctor had gone to her house and had sex with Davies.

"Ms. Davies did not consent to sexual intercourse with Dr. Inkpen. Dr. Inkpen believes that Ms. Davies was consenting but Ms. Davies did not communicate her consent with him and Dr. Inkpen did not honestly believe he did so," the Crown said. "Dr. Inkpen did not take reasonable steps to confirm that Ms. Davies was consenting."

Davies got a sexually transmitted infection from Inkpen which he then gave her a prescription for, but didn't mention it in her medical file.

The doctor treated Davies from 2018 to 2020 for chronic pain and she'd previously spent time in a wheelchair.

He found out she had a prescription for psilocybin – the ingredient in magic mushrooms – and was microdosing with them. He asked her to get him some and she did.

It's unclear when she went to the police, but in July 2022 Dr. Inkpen was charged with two counts of sexual assault. He's been out on bail since.

He had planned to fight the charges but pleaded guilty earlier this year.

READ MORE: 'Exceptional case': No jail for Shuswap man who raped 14-year-old girl

Davies read out an emotional victim impact statement to the court.

"He was in a position of power and I knew it but I depended on him, he manipulated me for his own gratification. I did what he asked of me because I was desperate not to be in pain," she said. "I'm in constant fear for my safety, I've been robbed of any resemblance of a healthy life because of the offence."

She spoke at length about how she had been left with an "overwhelming sense of hopelessness" and her emotional pain had become "unmanageable."

"It's not sexual assault, it's rape," she told the court.

After the news broke of the doctor being charged, two more victims came forward to police.

Both women had worked for the doctor, one had been his personal assistant for a couple of years more than a decade ago.

The court heard how Dr. Inkpen had practiced with an ultrasound machine on his assistant many times.

The assistant would lie in her underwear covered by a sheet as Dr. Inkpen used the machine. During several sessions, he touched her groin and inner thigh area with the machine and on a small number of occasions the device or his finger touched her vagina. He's also moved her underwear.

"Dr. Inkpen had a legitimate desire to learn and practice ultrasound, however, he sexualized some of the scanning sessions such that the touching... near her vagina was for a sexual rather than educational purpose," the Crown said.

The court heard how the assistant didn't want to do it, but felt she couldn't say no. It was a good-paying job which she needed.

Several years later the doctor did a similar thing to another employee.

In 2017, he asked the employee if she would volunteer as he was going to make educational videos for other doctors using the ultrasound machine.

During the session, he placed the ultrasound machine on her groin. He then told her he couldn't continue because he was distracted by her vagina.

The woman sat up and the doctor asked her if she wanted to continue. She said no.

He asked her if she ever fantasized about hooking up with her boss. Again, she said no.

The woman continued working for Dr. Inkpen but felt uncomfortable. She said she didn't want to say anything because she didn't want to ruin his career and she worried about all the patients they were helping and what it would mean to them.

READ MORE: First of seven alleged victims tell Kamloops jury of sexual assault 11 years ago

Defence lawyer Michael Gismondi said Dr. Inkpen suffered from persistent depressive disorder and an anxiety disorder. The lawyer read a character witness letter from an old medical school friend of Inkpen's who spoke of his good character and said he would stand by him.

Dr. Inkpen briefly addressed the court.

"I just simply want to say that I am sorry," he said, adding he wanted to become a contributing member of society and a supportive father once again.

Lawyers presented a joint submission and asked for three-and-a-half years in jail.

While Provincial Court Judge George Leven will almost certainly agree to the submission, the judge said he wanted time to review it and he would give his answer in a couple of weeks.

In an unusual move, Dr. Inkpen's lawyer asked if the doctor could start his jail sentence today.

The judge agreed, Inkpen's bail was revoked, and he was led from the courtroom in handcuffs.


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