Barham: GP found not guilty of hitting child

A SUFFOLK GP who was accused of hitting a young child with “full force” has been found not guilty.

Dr Paul Thomas, who runs Gipping Valley Practice in Barham, had been charged with assault caused by striking the child on the buttocks.

After hearing evidence from a number of witnesses during a week-long trial at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, magistrates found Thomas not guilty, after deliberating for over three hours yesterday.

Magistrate Peter West told Thomas: “We found that some of the witnesses were not credible and there were inconsistencies in the evidence they gave.

“However, one credible witness saw no violence, aggression or abuse as was alleged against you.

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“There were gaps in the evidence and the prosecution have failed to present a burden of proof.” Giving evidence at a previous hearing Thomas told magistrates he “had never, and would never” hit a child – claiming instead that the child’s mother punched him in the face during the alleged incident on September 11.

He said he acted neither aggressively, nor angrily and denied the mother’s claims that he hit the child on the bottom, leaving a red mark and three bruises.

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Thomas, a GP of 24 years who started his Gipping Valley Practice and now has 2,000 patients, said he had never even shouted at a child.

When asked if he had struck the child or caused any injury, Thomas replied: “Definitely not. Not at all.”

Thomas, 58, of Norwich Road, Claydon, has not been suspended by NHS Suffolk but has taken a leave of absence from the surgery while the case is heard.

His patients are being cared for by Chesterfield Drive surgery near Norwich Road in Ipswich.

Thomas, who is on the board of the Dispensing Doctors’ Association, made his first appearance before magistrates in Ipswich on November 16.

Following yesterday’s trial Thomas declined to comment.

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