Groping healer has appeal rejected

KIRSTY JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 07/11/2012

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A spiritual healer who touched a girl's breast and called it "beautiful" while treating her for stomach cramps has had his appeal rejected.

Suresh Chaturgoon Gobindlal, 57, from Auckland was found guilty of indecent assault on a girl aged under 16 last year, after the incident in an upstairs bedroom at her home.

Court documents show Gobindlal practises a technique known as "Pranic" healing, a no-touch system where practitioners manipulate aura to restore balance to the life-force.

He had offered to treat the girl during a visit to her home on Christmas Day, 2010, when she complained of stomach pains.

Gobindlal took the girl upstairs to a bedroom and got her to lie on her back. Once he'd closed the bedroom door he made her lie down, then put his hand down her top and touched her breasts, calling them "beautiful".

He told the girl what had happened was "confidential", however, a few days later she told a friend, then her mother, and the police were called.

At trial Gobindlal's wife and son testified that despite the "no-touch" Pranic philosophy, "when practised at higher level the technique can involve touching".

The jury found him guilty. Gobindlal was sentenced to eight months home detention.

He appealed the sentence and conviction on the grounds that his lawyer made a mistake, but it was dismissed by the Court of Appeal yesterday.

He will continue to serve his sentence.

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