THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services has remained tight-lipped over the sexual assault of a 24 year old local patient at St. Vincent Hospital in Sydney Australia.
According to Australian police documents tendered in a Sydney court last Friday, it was alleged that former honorary consul in Sydney Sir Trevor Garland allegedly sexually assaulted patient while under his care.
Police arrested Garland, 62, last Thursday in Sydney and charged him with four counts of aggravated sexual assault.
He remains under police custody and is expected to lodge a bail application when his case returns to court, today.
Ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr Tenneth Dalipanda said they cannot release any information to the media because of the court’s suppression order.
“Information can only release when we receive any court order to lift the suppression order.
“At the moment we haven’t receive any court order to lift the suppression order,” he added.
However, Dr Dalipanda said the 10 bed programme with St Vincent Hospital will continue despite this first complaint received by the ministry.
“We can only stop referring patients to St Vincent if there is no budget from the government.
“However there is still an agreement to continue with the arrangement,” he added.
Under the 10 bed arrangement, all doctors at National Referral Hospital in Honiara normally refer patients to Referral Committee to screen it.
If the Referral Committee chaired by Medical Superintendent, Dr Rooney Jagilly approves it, then the patient will be referred to St. Vincent in Sydney.
The Solomon Star understands the 10 bed arrangement has been going on for the last 30 years.
By EDDIE OSIFELO