Fake gynaecologist in Australia jailed for years of fraud and assault on patients

SYDNEY (AFP) - A man who pretended to be a gynaecologist and fertility specialist for a decade was labelled a "base charlatan" by a Melbourne judge and jailed for more than nine years on Friday (July 6) for assault and fraud.

Prosecutors said Raffaele Di Paolo, 61, performed treatments on 30 women and some men, including conducting insemination procedures and removing semen from testicles with a needle, despite having no professional qualifications.

He was convicted in April of more than 50 offences, including procuring sexual penetration by fraud and indecent assault at Melbourne clinics between 2005 and 2015.

Judge Bill Stuart said at the sentencing hearing that Di Paolo was a "base charlatan" who carried out a "long-term and determined fraud".

"You exploited their vulnerability, consistently without regard for the effect on these men and women," The Age newspaper reported Judge Stuart as saying.

"You encouraged false hope, wrongfully touched them and penetrated their bodies, took large sums of their money, scarring them, some perhaps for life."

Judge Stuart sentenced Di Paolo - who also reportedly fleeced his patients of more than A$300,000 (S$302,833) - to nine years and six months behind bars, with a non-parole period of six years and six months.

The prosecution had said there was no evidence that Di Paolo committed the offences for sexual gratification.

The court was told that Di Paolo escaped being jailed in Italy for practising without a licence by claiming he had Australian qualifications, The Age reported.