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Court challenge delays sentencing of oral surgeon who let prison guard do dental work on inmate

Dr. Louis Bourget appears in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in Gander on Friday. (Troy Turner/CBC)

Sentencing submissions in the case against an oral surgeon who pleaded guilty to assault — after letting a prison guard do dental work on a sedated inmate — will have to wait another month. 

Dr. Louis Bourget was charged 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.

Submissions began Friday in Gander Supreme Court but were stopped when defence attorney Randy Piercey challenged the victim impact statement by the inmate, Blair Harris.

Victim impact statements are written or oral submissions in court that describe how the victim of a crime was affected by the incident, either through physical or emotional harm, property damage or economic loss. 

Rarely are they challenged, but Piercey told the court he couldn’t accept Harris’s statement but didn’t elaborate on why.

“In 40 years, I’ve never objected to a victim impact [statement]. I have to object to this.”

The statement, filed by victim Blair Harris, was a written submission and not read in court Friday. Crown attorney Tina Walsh will now meet with Harris to see if the issue can be resolved. 

In the agreed statement of facts, read prior to the submission of the victim impact statement, more details surfaced on the assault against Walsh.

The court heard that the two correctional officers involved — Ron McDonald and Roy Goodyear, who escorted Harris to Bourget’s practice at Gander Family Dental Clinic — took an interest in the procedure Bourget was performing. 

Normally, once a patient is sedated, the officers leave the room, but McDonald and Goodyear stayed. Bourget was explaining the procedure to them, and then suggested they perform the extraction of the four teeth. 

McDonald took them out 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.

The dental assistant and nurse on staff were shocked by his decision, according to the court statement.

Bourget’s matter is due back in court March 5.

McDonald, who also pleaded guilty to assault, had his sentencing submissions set over until June, while charges against Goodyear were dropped.

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