Surgeon cleared of sex assault charges

Charges against an orthopaedic surgeon accused of indecently assaulting patients under the disguise of medical examinations have been dropped.

Charges against an orthopaedic surgeon accused of indecently assaulting patients under the disguise of medical examinations have been dropped.

Consultant Rodney Phillips had faced a three-year ordeal while being investigated by detectives after 11 women and girls complained about their treatment.

But two weeks after the trial started at Manchester Crown Court, the Crown has decided to offer no further evidence after its case was "seriously undermined" by its own medical expert.

As he left court, Dr Phillips said: "I have been under tremendous stress and I am looking forward to a holiday and some rest."

Dr Phillips, 62, of Whitefield, Manchester, who is now retired, came under suspicion after a complaint by a patient, now in her 20s, who had seen him after suffering whiplash injuries in a car accident.

She had gone to his consulting rooms in Manchester's St John's Street and was asked to strip to her underwear and lay on a couch. It was alleged he pulled down her knickers without warning or permission and "stared" at her bottom.

After he was charged with assaulting her, other patients saw the publicity and made similar allegations and eventually he was charged with indecently assaulting 11 women and girls between 1988 and 1999. He denied the charges.

It was alleged Dr Phillips asked patients to touch their toes while he stood behind them and that he was getting sexual gratification from what he was doing.

But under cross-examination from defence barrister Nick Clarke the victims admitted they had complained to Dr Phillips of pain in the lower back and accepted he had given their spines a thorough examination.

Then a medical expert called by the prosecution, consultant orthopaedic surgeon Anthony Percy, admitted in evidence that medical text books and worldwide authorities on back problems acknowledged that patients' backs would have to be exposed for examinations.

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