GP found guilty of indecent assault claimed it was ‘tantric healing’

Ali Khorami, a 49-year-old doctor, has been found guilty of indecently assaulting four women and a teenage girl at a Sydney sleep clinic including touching their bodies, masturbating next to them and placing his penis in a girl’s hand.

Khorami pleaded not guilty to twenty-five charges, including 21 counts of aggravated indecent assault and one count of using an intoxicating substance to commit an indictable offence. Instead, the doctor claimed he engaged in “tantric healing” with two of the complainants – a form of energy healing which involves his penis.

Night vision cameras captured the acts in the patients’ rooms. CCTV footage of the sessions were played in court which showed the camera being diverted away from patients as they slept or being turned off multiple times during overnight patient stays. Khorami told the NSW District Court that the videos did not show him masturbating, but rather engaging in sacred and non-sexual “penis rubbing” with the patients’ consent. He emphasised the difference by stating “rubbing penis is different from masturbation … this is not sexual, it’s sacred … worship or praying”.

Khorami denied some allegations made against him, including placing his penis on a woman’s feet and drugging another with sleeping tablets. However, he did admit to engaging in certain acts such as placing his penis on the hand of a 16-year-old girl, with the defence that it was a form of “tantric healing” with her consent. He claimed he had consent because the patient was not asleep, but simply closing their eyes at his instruction. The girl denied those claims in court.


Sexual Touching

The offence of “sexual touching” is now found in section 61KC of the Crimes Act, replaced the crime of “indecent assault” in 2018. The new offence encapsulates broader unlawful conduct regarding non-consensual sexual contact as the touching by the offender is not strictly required to prove the offence.

A previous article discussed the offence of sexual touching. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant intentionally
  • Touched the victim OR incites the victim to touch the accused OR incites a third party to touch the victim OR incites the victim to touch the third party
  • The victim did not consent
  • The person knew the victim was not consenting

Additionally, sexual touching can occur with any part of the body and through any clothing worn by the victim. The court will also consider whether a reasonable person would consider the touching to be sexual in nature.


Sexual touching is not considered “sexual” if the touching is done for a genuine medical or hygienic purpose under s 61HB(3) of the Crimes Act. As seen in R v Mohammad Rahman [2011]), the court would have considered the purpose of Khorami’s actions, and likely found that his actions were for sexual gratification, rather than genuine medical purposes.

The case involved a defendant who was found guilty of indecent assault (under the previous s 61L of the Crimes Act) against women whilst working as a GP in a medical clinic. The court considered the purpose of the touching and held that it was mainly for the purposes of sexual gratification rather than medical purposes. The court found that his “medical” methods were excessive and did not address the patient’s medical issues. The case shows that the elements of “indecent assault” are similar to the elements needed to prove the crime of s 61KC “sexual touching”.

The court also acknowledged the serious abuse of trust which occurred, as a doctor is in a position of authority in the doctor-patient relationship. His Honour noted that (like the circumstances of Khorami) it was not a “lapse which occurred on one occasion in a moment of weakness … he violated no fewer than seventeen of his female patients over one period of six months”.


Additionally, a previous article examined the issue of sexual consent. The Crimes Act specifies what consent means in relation to sexual offences under section 61HE (formerly s 61HA): ‘A person consents to sexual activity if the person freely and voluntarily agrees to the sexual activity’. The Crimes Act also lists specific circumstances in which a person cannot consent to sexual activity:

  1. If the person has no capacity to consent (e.g. due to their young age or mental capacity)
  2. If the person does not have the opportunity to consent (e.g. if a person is unconscious)
  3. If the person consents due to threats of force of terror
  4. If the person consents because they are unlawfully detained

Consent would have likely been a contentious issue during the Khorami trial, as the incidents occurred in a sleep clinic. If Khorami’s patients were truly asleep or unconscious during the alleged incidents, it automatically means that there was no consent provided on behalf of the victims. Although Khorami was found guilty of the offence, he still claimed that some of his patients were not asleep, but simply closing their eyes at his instruction.

If you have been arrested or the police are looking to interview you regarding an investigation, Pannu Lawyers is able to advise you of your rights at every step of the criminal investigation & trial process. Pannu Lawyers extensively practice in Criminal Law and regularly appear at Courts throughout New South Wales such as Blacktown Local Court, Mt Druitt Local Court, Parramatta Local Court & District Court, Burwood Local Court, Downing Centre Local Court & District Court, and Penrith Local Court. If your matter is at Blacktown Court, we are conveniently located within a walking distance from the Blacktown Local Court. Call our office on 02 9920 1787 to discuss your matter in a confidential manner.

The above information is intended as general information and is not intended to be relied on as legal advice. The part of this article is taken from an article published by Sydney Morning Herald.

Related Posts

Best Lawyer in australia