Former Berkshire GP accused of sexual assaults on patients found not guilty on one count

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Stephen Cox outside court. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Jurors trying a GP accused of eight indecent assaults on seven female patients have been unable to reach verdicts on all but one charge.

Stephen Cox, 63, was accused of carrying out the alleged attacks while he practised as a GP in Bracknell, Berkshire, between October 1990 and September 1997.

He was cleared by a majority verdict of one of the assaults which was alleged to have taken place in October 1990.

A jury of six men and five women at Reading Crown Court could not reach a verdict on the other seven counts of indecent assault, including one on a girl in her early teenage years.

Mr Cox, from Marton in Shropshire, walked free on Monday after the jury was discharged.

Wearing a blazer and green jumper over his shirt and tie, he showed little visible emotion as the verdicts were read out. After he was cleared of the one charge, Judge Sarah Campbell asked the jury if they thought they would be able to reach verdicts if given more time.

After five minutes of further discussion jurors concluded they would be unable to do that.

Jurors concluded they would be unable to make a decision if they'd been given more time. Credit: ITV Meridian

Prosecutor Tahir Khan KC indicated the prosecution would take one week to decide whether it wants a retrial. A hearing on the subject is set to take place next week.

On Tuesday, Mr Cox's barrister, Michael Rawlinson KC, claimed the prosecution had tried to "cherry pick parts of the evidence".

He said: "The problems with these allegations is they are very easy to make but it is incredibly difficult to refute and defend, other than 'I didn't do it'. That's all Dr Cox is trying to say.

"Look at the cases dispassionately, look at them carefully and don't fall into the trap of the lazy broad brush approach that I suggest is being urged upon you."

Mr Rawlinson suggested it was significant that none of the alleged victims "complained to the police at the time" of the alleged incidents and he questioned why many of the complainants returned for subsequent appointments with Mr Cox after the alleged assaults, the court heard.

Mr Rawlinson suggested to the jury that the reason they kept going back for appointments is that they "weren't sure" what Mr Cox had done was wrong.

He added: "How can you be sure now when they weren't sure then?"

He also said Mr Cox was at a "serious disadvantage" because the passage of time means he cannot remember details about the alleged incidents. After it became aware of the police investigation against him, the General Medical Council (GMC) said it referred Mr Cox to an interim orders tribunal at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) in May 2022.

The MPTS, which provides a tribunal service that is separate from the investigatory role of the GMC, imposed an interim suspension on Mr Cox during which he has been unable to treat patients.

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