'Butcher of Bega' Graeme Reeves won't go back to jail

'Health issues': Graeme Reeves, pictured during his 2011 trial, will remain free after an appeals court ruling on Monday.  Photo: Ben Rushton

'Health issues': Graeme Reeves, pictured during his 2011 trial, will remain free after an appeals court ruling on Monday. Photo: Ben Rushton

Disappointed: 'Butcher of Bega' victim Carolyn DeWaegeneire. Photo: Simon Alekna

Disappointed: 'Butcher of Bega' victim Carolyn DeWaegeneire. Photo: Simon Alekna

Notorious former gynaecologist Graeme Reeves, who was jailed for mutilating a patient's genitals, will not serve more time behind bars, a court has ruled.

Reeves, dubbed the "butcher of Bega", was jailed by the NSW District Court in 2011 for at least two years on several charges, including maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on Carolyn DeWaegeneire.

When Ms DeWaegeneire had an operation on a pre-cancerous growth in 2002 at Pambula hospital, on the NSW south coast, Reeves cut off her external genitalia.

She recalled in court that as she was lying on the operating table, Reeves leaned over, put his face close to hers and said quietly: "I'm going to take your clitoris too."

Reeves was sentenced to an extra 18 months' jail by the Court of Criminal Appeal last year, but he later won a High Court challenge quashing the extra jail time and the case was sent back to the appeals court for re-sentencing.

The deregistered gynaecologist and obstetrician was released from Long Bay jail on parole on December 20, awaiting the outcome of the latest appeal.

On Monday, the appeals court sentenced Reeves to five years' jail, with a non-parole period of three years, in contrast to his original sentence of three-and-a-half years, with a non-parole period of two years.

However, the non-parole period expired on May 31, meaning Reeves does not have to serve more time.

The appeals court, made up of Chief Justice Tom Bathurst, Justice Peter Hall and Justice Robert Allan Hulme, noted Reeves' physical and mental health issues, including severe kidney disease and the fact he had been living in a community offender support program centre since his release from jail.

"The combined effect of the added delay in the final disposition of the matter, the evidence of what has transpired in relation to [Reeves'] ill-health (both physical and mental) and the conditions under which he has been held in a form of quasi-custody since being released on parole, call for an amelioration of the court's response," the judgment said.

Outside court, Ms DeWaegeneire said she was disappointed with the ruling.

"I've already had 12 years and 10 days since he picked up that scalpel. I've probably got another 21 years of suffering for what he did to me. And he's out.

"I know he's got diabetes and I know he's old, and all the rest of if, but that's no reason to obliterate what's happened to me."

Last year, 60 charges against Reeves - including allegations of sexual assault - were dropped by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop