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Ontario doctors not guilty of sexually assaulting woman

Amitabh Chauhan leaves the courthouse at Old City Hall in Toronto on Feb. 23, 2011. Dr. Chauhan and Suganthan Kayilasanthan were accused of allegedly drugging and then sexually assaulting a woman after a night of drinking and dancing at a Toronto club, but have been found not guilty.

KEVIN VAN PAASSEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Two Toronto doctors accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a medical student in 2011 have been found not guilty.

Dr. Amitabh Chauhan and Dr. Suganthan Kayilasanathan were accused of drugging and then sexually assaulting the woman in a hotel room after a night of drinking and dancing at a Toronto club.

Justice Julie Thorburn said while it was agreed that the two doctors had a "sexual encounter" with the woman, she was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the woman was drugged and did not consent to the encounter.

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"I know this has been a long and emotional journey for all of you," Thorburn said as she delivered her lengthy judgement on Thursday. "I do recognize how difficult this may be for some of you in this room."

Both Chauhan and Kayilasanathan told reporters outside court that they looked forward to moving on with their lives.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for the Crown said the complainant, who cannot be identified, was "very disappointed" with the judge's decision.

Thorburn said she found no evidence to support the Crown's assertion that the two doctors planned to drug and sexually assault the medical student on Feb. 13, 2011.

She also said that the woman and the two doctors "willingly consumed a considerable amount of alcohol that evening and early the next morning" and that there was no evidence to corroborate the woman's testimony that she was drugged or sexually assaulted.

Thorburn also noted that video surveillance showed the woman "appeared to be in full command of her physical movements" a few minutes before going up to the hotel room where the alleged assault took place.

Further, Thorburn said that four text messages were sent from the woman's cellphone around the time she testified she was unable to resist the alleged sexual encounter with the two doctors.

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"She could not have composed and sent text messages if she were unable to move," Thorburn said, noting that police were unable to retrieve the content of those messages.

Thorburn said that even if the woman did not or could not consent to a sexual encounter due to her condition, the two doctors could have thought she did.

"There is an air of reality to the accused's claim that they had an honest but mistaken belief that [the woman] consented to the sexual encounter," Thorburn said.

Chauhan had also been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting another woman in 2003 whom he had a relationship with years earlier.

He was found not guilty on those charges as well.

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