Doctor jailed for infecting patients with hep C denies 'serious' harm

Dr James Peters wouldn't have pleaded guilty if he'd known DAAs would soon be PBS-listed, his lawyers say

A doctor jailed for infecting 55 women with hepatitis C has lost a bid to reduce his sentence after arguing the advent of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) meant the disease was no longer a serious condition.

Dr James Peters originally pleaded guilty to negligently causing serious injury back in 2013.

The women were infected after the Melbourne anaesthetist injected himself with fentanyl stolen from his work, and then reused the needles on his patients, despite knowing he had hepatitis C.

Now serving 14 years in jail, he last month sought leave to appeal in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

He told the court he had undergone treatment with DAAs himself, after he had read a brochure about the drugs while in prison in late 2015.

His lawyers argued that if he had known DAAs would be PBS-listed within a few years, he would not have pleaded guilty to causing serious injury.