A Melbourne doctor sacked by an AFL club has been spared jail after he needlessly prescribed thousands of sedatives and sleeping pills.
Former Western Bulldogs doctor Richard Vucinic, 41, prescribed nearly 6000 Diazepam and Alprazolam tablets to James Turner and his girlfriend Elise Bertola in 2013.
He was sentenced on Wednesday to an 18-month community corrections order after pleading guilty in the County Court to prescribing drugs of dependence without therapeutic need.
Judge Mark Gamble said Vucinic was once a respected doctor with an annual income of about $300,000, but had since had his medical licence suspended.
"It is clear Mr Vucinic has suffered a dramatic fall from grace," the judge noted during sentencing.
"He has been shamed and embarrassed. His future from a professional standpoint is very uncertain."
The Western Bulldogs sacked Vucinic, who provided medical services to the club's VFL team Footscray, in 2014 after the allegations came out.
Vucinic completed his medical degree with honours, had worked as a GP in several clinics and had a diploma in sports medicine.
"You worked for some time at a football club at an elite level," Judge Gamble said to Vucinic.
In total Vucinic wrote 126 scripts for the couple over three months, including some for testosterone for Turner.
Turner and Bertola later pleaded guilty to drug trafficking in relation to the pills.
There was no evidence Vucinic stood to benefit financially from the prescriptions, the judge said.
He was first charged with a more serious offence of drug trafficking which was later struck out.
Diazepam, sold as Valium, is a strong sleeping pill and Alprazolam, sold as Xanax, is a sedative used to treat anxiety.
Vucinic originally told police the couple had mental health issues that warranted prescribing the drugs.
But he later admitted writing the scripts to gain the affection of Turner and Bertola during a difficult time in his life.
His family were bewildered by the charges but remained supportive, the judge said.
Vucinic was also ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid community work.