Appeal: Graeme Reeves. Photo: Ben Rushton
Notorious south coast gynaecologist Graeme Reeves could be released from jail within weeks after successfully appealing an 18-month increase to his sentence for cutting off a woman's genitals.
Reeves was given a minimum two-year sentence for assault occasioning grievous bodily harm in July 2011 over a procedure he undertook on south coast 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 on the NSW south coast, 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."He later claimed Ms DeWaegeneire had consented to the procedure.The two-year minimum sentence caused outrage across the state.
Victim: Carolyn DeWaegeneire. Photo: Nick Moir
On appeal, the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal added 18 months to the sentence.But 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 legal aid lawyers will apply for Reeves to be released from jail in the interim, given that the non-parole period on the original sentence has now expired.Legal aid refused to comment on the case on Wednesday.
The Court dismissed a parallel appeal by Reeves against his conviction.
His legal team claimed that the judge in Reeves' trial judge had misdirected the jury on the issue of "informed consent".
But the court agreed with an earlier finding by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal that, while the judge had misdirected the jury, this "had not occasioned a substantial miscarriage of justice".