February 25, 2024

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Dentist set to launch appeal as sentencing nears in stabbing

A Sarnia dentist may not be heading to prison next month after all.

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SARNIA – A Sarnia dentist may not be heading to prison next month after all.

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Kevin Bacchus was charged in October 2019 with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon after he was accused of stabbing a man – a former patient – in front of his home amid accusations of infidelity. He was convicted of both charges in September following a five-day trial and is expected to be sentenced in April only for aggravated assault as the second charge was stayed.

The Crown has asked for three years in prison for the attack, which involved bear spray, while Bacchus’s lawyer pushed for a suspended sentence and probation. Superior Court Justice Russell Raikes, who found Bacchus guilty, will come back with his decision soon.

But during the latest session of an ongoing hearing by Ontario’s dentistry regulator on 18 separate allegations levied by its discipline committee, the criminal convictions were brought up.

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“I’m arranging to appeal,” Bacchus said Thursday during re-examination by his lawyer, Jasmine Ghosn.

Amid the criminal sentencing and planned appeal, Bacchus continues to fight a slew of allegations laid by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario’s discipline committee following five separate investigations. They include:

  • Four counts of disgraceful, dishonourable, unprofessional or unethical conduct
  • Two counts of sexual abuse of a patient (sexual abuse of a patient has a different meaning under provincial legislation for health professionals)
  • Two counts of signing a certificate, report or similar document that contained a false, misleading or improper statement
  • Two counts of submitting a false or misleading account or charge
  • Two counts of abuse of a patient
  • Excessive or unreasonable fees
  • Contravening a standard of practice or failing to maintain the standards of practice of the profession
  • Failing to keep records as required by the regulations
  • Prescribing, dispensing or selling a drug for an improper purpose, or inappropriately using authority to prescribe
  • Recommending or providing an unnecessary dental service
  • Treatment without consent

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Bacchus has pleaded not guilty to all the allegations. The discipline committee has been hearing all charges at once in a drawn-out hearing stretched across several months.

As Bacchus continued testifying Thursday under cross-examination, the prosecution shifted its focus to allegations he overprescribed opioids to patients, including to a recovering addict. Bacchus allegedly gave a woman with a history of addiction four consecutive prescriptions – the maximum is three – for Oxycocet, a narcotic painkiller, in less than six weeks in the spring of 2018, the college has alleged.

In a written response shown Thursday to the college’s discipline committee, Bacchus pointed out the woman had been in a severe car crash, which caused teeth damage, and was also under the care of a physician. But the timing of the crash of which the college had evidence didn’t line up, college prosecutor Glynnis Hawe pointed out.

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Bacchus testified there was no evidence there wasn’t another crash closer to when he treated the woman. He also became frustrated with a lack of certain charts and documents being available amid the college’s investigation that he argued would help his case.

“This is 2018. It’s 2023. You expect me to remember all this stuff?” he asked of the patient’s car-crash timeline.

The 51-year-old second-generation dentist, who worked mainly in Wallaceburg and Sarnia before selling his practices in December due in part to this hearing, also called the college’s probe of the crash timeline a reach and ridiculous.

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“It’s pretty desperate,” he said.

The hearing will resume Monday.

If a dentist is found guilty of allegations by the discipline committee, penalties can include remediation, restrictions, suspensions, revoking licenses, fines up to $35,000, or any combination of those punishments.

Bacchus was found guilty in 2013 on seven college charges and was fined $5,000, suspended six months, reprimanded, required to take courses and had his practice monitored for two years. He still has his licence while the latest allegations are outstanding and, despite recently selling his practices, wants to continue practicing part-time.

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