Misconduct by Doyle 'did occur': probe

·2-min read

Sexual misconduct allegations against Robert Doyle when he was chair of Melbourne Health were true, a final report from the investigation has found.

The investigation run by Charles Scerri QC was established in 2018 by the Department of Health and Human Services in relation to claims from a woman that he groped her and made "sleazy" comments at an awards ceremony in 2016.

A summary of the findings of the investigation published by the department on Friday, said the complainant, Kharla Williams, was "an honest and sincere witness and had no reason to lie".

"Mr Scerri has found that the conduct described by the complainant did occur," the report summary said.

Some of Mr Doyle's behaviour was "serious misconduct of a sexual nature", involving "touching the complainant's inner thigh close to her groin and the complainant's lower back", the findings stated.

Other misconduct was "over-familiar, rude, obnoxious or sleazy", including inappropriate comments Mr Doyle made about the woman's appearance.

Mr Scerri found that Mr Doyle's behaviour, including the investigation into it, caused the complainant "enormous distress".

Mr Doyle has not participated in Mr Scerri's investigation, providing evidence that he has not been medically fit to be questioned.

Unable to engage Mr Doyle's response to the allegations, despite "extensive correspondence", Mr Scerri finalised the investigation and his final report last month.

"Mr Scerri does not accept that Mr Doyle's solicitors are unable to discuss the allegations with Mr Doyle and obtain any instructions from him," the summary said.

Mr Doyle quit the post and his role as chairman of Melbourne Health after the allegations came to light.

He stepped down from his position as lord mayor of the City of Melbourne in February 2018 in the wake of separate allegations of sexual harassment.

Victoria Police confirmed in June 2020 that a sexual crimes investigation into Mr Doyle had been completed and no charges would be laid.