The trauma continues for Carolyn DeWaegeneire, the Wolumla woman who has become the public face of the case against the disgraced former obstetrician and gynaecologist, Graeme Reeves.
Reeves, dubbed the ‘Butcher of Bega’ is once again applying to appeal against his sentence and Mrs DeWaegeneire is gathering her supporters and her strength as she prepares to hear whether Reeves will be given leave to appeal in the High Court.
Reeves, a bankrupt, is using Legal Aid to pursue his appeal.
In March 2011, Reeves was found guilty of maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm, with intent, on Carolyn DeWaegeneire, whose genitals he removed without her consent, and indecently assaulting two other female patients.
Reeves, who practised obstetrics in Pambula and Bega without registration, was also convicted of obtaining a financial advantage by deception.
He was given a three and a half year jail sentence for the four offences, of which two years would be the minimum before parole was considered. There was a non-parole period of just one year for the offence against Mrs DeWaegeneire. They were convictions, that combined, could have carried a sentence of 25 years and the leniency of the sentence outraged the community and victims.
In July 2011, the NSW Attorney General, Greg Smith announced that the Crown would appeal the sentence on the grounds that it was “manifestly inadequate”.
In March 2012 Reeves lodged his own appeal against his conviction of maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm, with intent, the charge involving Mrs DeWaegeneire.
Both appeals were heard on August 13, 2013 by the Chief Justice, Tom Bathurst and Justices, Peter Hall and Robert Allan Hulme and as a result Reeves’ sentence was increased by 18 months with the earliest date of parole November 30, 2014. At the same time he was also acquitted of one charge of aggravated indecent assault.
On June 7 Reeves’ application for an appeal was referred to the High Court after the two judges were split on their verdict.
The application for leave to appeal to the High Court on Tuesday, October 29, will be heard by three judges and Mrs DeWaegeneire’s friends will be at the High Court, Canberra in a show of support.
Reeves’ legal team is ultimately looking to get a retrial or acquittal based on a technical error.
After the sentence was increased on Reeves, Mrs DeWaegeneire said she hoped to be able to move forward but now the appeal has meant that she must once again face the trauma of an operation by Reeves at Pambula hospital during which he cut off her external genitalia.
But she is both angry and determined to see the matter through until the end.
“The whole thing is incomprehensible. People are dissatisfied with how the justice system deals with victims,” Mrs DeWaegeneire said.
“I have no access to Legal Aid. I was supposed to have a piece of skin –that is 1.6mm thick removed. It was not cancerous but instead he cut out my entire genitalia. It’s the equivalent of a man losing his penis and scrotum,” Mrs DeWaegeneire said.