Respected doctor is suing police after they ‘falsely accused him on Facebook of theft from bottle shop before throwing him in the back of a divvy van’
- The respected doctor is suing Victoria Police for defamation over a Facebook post
- Prasannan Ponganamparambile was charged with theft from a bottle shop
- The head of rehabilitation medicine was wrongly identified as a thief by the police
A highly respected doctor is suing Victoria Police for defamation after alleging he was falsely charged with theft from a bottle shop.
Prasannan Ponganamparambile, the head of rehabilitation medicine at Latrobe Regional Hospital in Traralgon, was the subject of a police Facebook post accusing him of the crime in May 2020.
The post asking for the identity of the person said Dr. Ponganamparambile with a bottle of wine leaving the store.
“The identity of the male photo is being sought in connection with a theft that took place in Pakenham,” the report says.
Prasannan Ponganamparambile was the subject of a police Facebook post accusing him of theft from a local bottle shop
The post, which has since been deleted, has been shared nearly 80 times and ‘liked’ more than 20 times, according to court documents submitted by the ABC
Peter O’Brien, Dr. Ponganamparambile, says the post clearly identified the doctor and suggested he was a criminal, a claim he vehemently denies.
They said the post was online for ‘several hours’ despite the doctor calling Crime Stoppers to say they had falsely identified him as the thief.
“As a result of the publication by the Victorian police … and the grapevine effect of that publication, the plaintiff has been seriously injured in his character and reputation, and has suffered considerable pain, distress and embarrassment,” the ABC court documents reported.
The post asking for the identity of the person said Dr. Ponganamparambile with a bottle of wine leaving the store. It has since been removed
“He was told that the police had the right to keep the photo on Facebook until the investigation was completed and that he could seek legal advice if he wanted to dispute it.”
They said the officers showed “ arrogance ” after allegedly detaining the doctor in a police van following the incident, and it took Victoria Police two days to remove the mail.
Dr Ponganamparambile’s representatives also claimed that he was denied a lawyer during police interrogation.
“The prosecution’s wife questioned the police actions and was told that this was protocol and that they were taking him to the other side of the police station,” said Mr. O’Brien.
His wife said Dr. Ponganamparambile was taken to the police station and interviewed for 19 minutes before being arrested and fingerprinted.
They said Dr. Ponganamparambile was deprived of his rights at trial and sued Victoria Police for defamation.
Victoria Police told the ABC they would not comment as the case remains in court.
Dr. Ponganamparambile is the head of rehabilitation medicine at Latrobe Regional Hospital in Traralgon