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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Oral surgeon who guided prison guard through extraction of inmate’s teeth given absolute discharge

Oral surgeon, Dr. Louis Bourget, received an absolute discharge after he guided a correctional officer through the removal of a sedated inmate’s teeth. (Mark Cumby/CBC)

Dr. Louis Bourget will not have a criminal record.

The oral surgeon was charged with assault after he permitted a correctional officer to extract an inmate’s teeth in October 2020. The incident was recorded by another correctional officer on his phone.

Bourget, who operates out of the Gander Family Dental Clinic building, received an absolute discharge on Tuesday at Supreme Court. It’s the lowest level of criminal sentence that an adult offender can receive. It’s a finding of guilt but no criminal conviction is registered and there is no probation order.

In October 2020, two correctional officers from the Bishop’s Falls Correctional Centre — Ron McDonald and Roy Goodyear — accompanied an inmate to the clinic.

According to the agreed statement of facts, when the patient was sedated, Bourget was explaining the procedure to the guards, and he then suggested one of the guards remove four teeth. McDonald took out the teeth while Goodyear recorded the whole thing.

According to the statement of facts, Bourget said he “got caught up in a teaching moment” but regretted the decision after the procedure.

In court on Tuesday, Justice Melanie Del Rizzo said there were several things to consider in delivering her decision, including the pressures of the pandemic, Bourget’s financial loss, his guilty plea, his low risk to re-offend and his completion of sensitivity training.

She also acknowledged the victim’s psychological harm due to the incident, breaches of his bodily integrity, and that Bourget did not report the incident.

“The sentence must be proportionate to the gravity of the offence,” Del Rizzo said.

“A criminal conviction is not in the public’s interest.”

Bourget would not do an interview following the decision.

However, following the incident he served sanctions from dental boards in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Dr. Paul O’Brien, registrar of the Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Board, said the matter likely won’t arise again.

“Nothing happens next because unless there’s a conviction, the same set of facts were there for the disciplinary action, so nothing’s changed,” he said outside the courtroom. “We will discuss it with their legal counsel and see what they have to say, but other than that, I have nothing to comment.”

Bourget has offices in Gander, northern New Brunswick and the Halifax area.

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