April 19, 2024

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Healthcare Enthusiast

81-calendar year-outdated Halifax dentist wishes assault expenses involving previous child clients tossed

Halifax dentist Errol Gaum is demonstrated at Halifax provincial court docket on Friday. (Richard Cuthbertson/CBC – impression credit rating)

An 81-yr-previous Halifax dentist accused of physically assaulting kid individuals a long time back won’t be able to mount a appropriate defence, according to his lawyer, since data have been destroyed and previous assistants who might aid his scenario are not able to be termed to testify.

Dr. Errol Gaum has pleaded not responsible to 8 expenses that he assaulted six complainants in the 1970s and 1980s, and is scheduled to go on demo up coming thirty day period in Halifax provincial courtroom.

On Friday, his law firm Stan MacDonald urged Decide Elizabeth Buckle to stay the rates and purchase an conclude to the prosecution, arguing his customer cannot have a truthful demo for the reason that so significantly proof has been dropped about the decades.

More than the class of his just about 50-year occupation, Dr. Errol Gaum had roughly 90,000 affected individual visits to his dentistry workplaces, according to courtroom information, most of them one-time appointments for specialty therapy where by the patient was given a sedative.

The criminal allegations outlined in court docket information say the grievances told police they had been slapped, and in 1 circumstance experienced their confront hit from a sink, an personal injury that demanded stitches.

Dentist testifies

Gaum testified Friday that he would not don’t forget any of the problems. He also advised the courtroom that he regularly administered a sedative named Mellaril, which he reported would trigger some youngsters to hallucinate.

“The baby would commence to laugh and say, ‘Oh, glimpse, the assistant has an eye in the center of her brow,'” he testified.

All health care information from the time, which the court was advised had been ready by assistants and outlined the remedies, remedies provided and how the little one got together, were being wrecked just after seven several years.

MacDonald said without them, it can be difficult to know whether any of the complainants were sedated and exactly how significantly medicine was given, stopping the defence from contacting authorities who could testify about the consequences on a youngster.

No only does Gaum not recall ever treating the complainants, the court was advised he can’t recall the names of the dental hygienists and assistants who labored for him in the course of this time.

Law enforcement were being only able to uncover a single former worker from the era, in accordance to court records. She advised law enforcement it was unusual for Gaum to take care of a affected individual alone, and she never witnessed him hit or slap a little one.

Five of the six complainants explained to law enforcement there was a dental assistant or other employee present. MacDonald reported it is really crystal clear there are previous employees who witnessed Gaum’s therapy of children, but he can’t try to remember their names, which indicates the defence can not find them.

Gaum's dental practice was in Bedford, N.S. He also worked in Dartmouth and in Halifax.

Gaum’s dental follow was in Bedford, N.S. He also worked in Dartmouth and in Halifax.

Gaum experienced a dental practice in Bedford, N.S. (CBC)

The patient records are essential, MacDonald claimed, for the reason that identifying regardless of whether the complainants were in fact Gaum’s patients is a authentic challenge. In two of the conditions, complainants informed police they have been handled by Gaum at places of work where he had in no way labored.

He also observed feedback from a police detective investigating the circumstance who told a person of the complainants: “We do have individuals saying, you know, ‘I had a poor encounter at the dentist 40 a long time back, it need to be him.'”

Crown prosecutor Laura Lindsay argued Friday that Buckle should not choose the “drastic” move of buying the continue to be, indicating Gaum is not entitled to a “fantastic” demo, only a good one. It can be widespread, she said, for trials to go ahead without the need of paperwork or in situations where witnesses cannot be uncovered.

She reported potential testimony from former staff members and the contents of medical information were “speculative” and said Gaum still has avenues for his defence.

Course-motion lawsuit in background

MacDonald also noted some of the complainants discussed suing Gaum on Facebook. In 2020, a class-action lawsuit was released towards the dentist.

“There is a economic motive in the background of this,” MacDonald claimed.

The class-action stalled this summer time following a Nova Scotia Supreme Courtroom decide refused to certify it. Very last thirty day period, a new lawsuit was submitted towards Gaum involving 29 plaintiffs, even though none of them are the complainants in the prison case.

Gaum’s dentistry licence was suspended in November 2020. The Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia did not reply Friday to a request for an update on his circumstance.

The prison situation returns to courtroom future Friday.

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