NOTORIOUS South Coast gynaecologist Graeme Reeves has lost his High Court appeal against his conviction for cutting off a woman's external genitalia.
However, the court has overturned an increase to the former doctor's jail sentenced imposed in an appeal this year, raising the possibility that he could be released pending a rehearing of the matter next year.
Reeves was given a minimum two-year sentence for assault occasioning grievous bodily harm in July 2011 over a procedure he undertook on Wolumla woman Carolyn DeWaegeneire in 2002.
Ms DeWaegeneire required a small pre-cancerous growth removed from her labia in 2002.
When she had surgery at Pambula Hospital, Reeves cut off her clitoris and labia.
Just before she became unconscious from the anaesthetic, Reeves told her: "I'm going to take your clitoris too."
The two-year minimum sentence caused outrage across the state.
On appeal, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal added 18 months to the sentence.
However, the High Court overturned that decision on Wednesday.
It did so on the basis that the Court of Criminal Appeal had failed to properly take into account Reeves' medical condition and the imminent expiry of his non-parole period.
It has sent the matter back to the Court of Criminal Appeal to reconsider the sentence appeal.
It is possible that lawyers will apply for Reeves to be released on bail in the interim, given that the non-parole period on the original sentence has now expired.
'THE FIGHT IS NOT OVER'
By Ben Smyth
CAROLYN DeWaegenire was understandably emotional when she received word of the decision from the Director of Public Prosecution’s office.
“It has been such a long and total haul,” she said.
“At least that part [the conviction being upheld] is now over.”
However, Ms DeWaegeneire said her fight for victims’ rights is far from over.
“Everything happening is to keep us little people down,” she said.
“And the gender roles in this country are absolutely appalling.
“I grew up believing I was equal to everyone else, but when I came to this country I found that’s not the case – and I’m afraid it is getting worse.
“What Reeves cut out of me is equivalent to your penis and scrotum being cut off in one go.
“He gets only three-and-a-half-years jail, but I wonder what a man would get in compensation if he had his penis cut off,” she said.
"And I guess his appeal is still being covered by LegalAid?
"That's an abomination - that taxpayers are footing the bill for his shenanigans.
“The fight is not over yet.”