Dentist faces court over Grindr date issue
A veteran Gold Coast dentist has been given a suspended jail sentence after being found guilty of failing to give police access to his mobile phone during an investigation into since dropped allegation that he assaulted a Grindr date over stolen sex toys.
But Dr Hilary Knight, 70, was acquitted of possessing dangerous drugs and two ice pipes.
Dr Knight faced a summary trial in Southport Magistrates Court on Tuesday over a raid on his luxury Broadbeach unit in August 2018.
Police executed the search warrant during investigations into the alleged kidnapping and assault of a man who had been lured to a Surfers Paradise unit with messages on gay dating app Grindr in a bid to recover a bag of missing sex toys.
Charges of deprivation of liberty, serious assault and robbery against Dr Knight relating to that investigation were dropped last October in Southport District Court, with two co-accused pleading guilty.
But he was charged with possessing dangerous drugs and ice pipes, as well as contravening a police order to provide access to a mobile phone, after the raid.
The court heard police found two ice pipes and the psychedelic drug DMT in a black toiletries bag in a suitcase under Dr Knight's bed, and that he failed to provide them with a pin code for one of his two mobile phones.
Dr Knight's personal trainer turned friend and flatmate, Todd Muir, told the court he was watching Wentworth on TV when cops raided the unit.
He said Dr Knight came home after about 10 minutes after the raid had started and 'got a bloody shock'.
"He was sh.tting himself the whole time," Mr Muir, who was not charged with any offences, told the court.
"It was a huge shock. They (police) just told him they had a warrant to search his belongings and apartment."
Giving evidence in his own defence, Dr Knight said he was 'anxious, nervous, startled' when he returned home after dinner with his dental practice staff to find police there.
"I was pretty stunned," he told the court.
He said he had rented the apartment since about 2010 and started living there, 'basically couch surfing', after running into 'a bit of financial strife' and selling his house.
Dr Knight told the court he let Mr Muir, an escort, live in the apartment rent-free and he had people stay over.
The dentist said he had 'never seen in my life' a black toiletries bag, containing ice pipes and drugs, that police found in his suitcase under the couch during the raid.
The court heard that no fingerprint or DNA tests were carried out on the bag or its contents.
Dr Knight said he had only recently bought the phone which police wanted access to, and could not remember the pin code because he was 'intimidated and stressed' over the police raid.
"I've come from work, I've had two glasses of champagne, I've got three cops breathing down my neck … I was stressed,' he said
"I was not able to get into that phone. I had no idea how to get into it.
"I didn't feel anything was fair about that evening."
Magistrate Cameron McKenzie found Dr Knight not guilty of possessing dangerous drugs and the pipes, saying there was no evidence of the weight or purity or the drug in line with legal precedents.
But Mr McKenzie found the dentist guilty of the phone charge.
In sentencing submissions, police prosecutor Gavin Reece called for a six-month jail term.
Defence lawyer Dan Rawlings said his client's life had been 'completely and utterly upended'.
Mr Rawlings said the Health Ombudsman had revoked Dr Knight's practising certificate, he had 'no money' and been 'ridiculed' in the press.
He said the certificate had only recently been returned but Dr Knight would again 'go through the mincer' with health regulators if he was given a jail sentence and convicted.
Magistrate McKenzie sentenced Dr Knight to three months' jailed, wholly suspended for 12 months, and recorded a conviction.
Originally published as Dentist gets suspended jail sentence over phone access