Former doctor who tried to kill pharmacist loses his bid to reduce sentence
A former Adelaide doctor jailed for trying to murder a pharmacist after she reported him to the authorities for overprescribing medication has lost his bid to reduce his decade-long sentence.
Brian Holder, 69, was found guilty of attempted murder over a revenge attack on a Port Lincoln pharmacist at her workplace in October last year.
He was sentenced to 15 years in jail with a non-parole period of 10 years for the attempted murder, but appealed against that decision.
The Court of Criminal Appeal has now thrown out that appeal.
Auxiliary Justice Michael David found the sentencing judge, Justice Ann Vanstone, had given appropriate consideration to Holder’s previous good character, age and mental conditions when she imposed her penalty.
“Her Honour took all of those matters into account in her sentencing remarks, but came to the conclusion that such factors were outweighed by the seriousness of the offending,” she said.
“In my view, the sentence was not manifestly excessive.
“Despite his ailments, [Holder] was an intelligent, educated man who carefully planned what could have been the most horrific outcome out of sheer vengeance.”
The Supreme Court previously heard he went to the Terry White pharmacy where the 28-year-old woman worked, lured her out from behind the counter with a bunch of flowers and then tried to stab her with a large fishing knife.
At the time of the attack, Holder was a GP at the Reynella Medical Centre in Morphett Vale, in Adelaide’s south.
Earlier in the year, the pharmacist had reported Holder to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) for overprescribing benzodiazepines and painkillers to a group of Indigenous women from Port Lincoln.
Former GP repeatedly overprescribed medication
The court heard the watchdog’s investigation revealed a significant pattern of overprescribing, not only to the group of women, but to other patients at his practice.
As a result, AHPRA placed limitations on Holder’s ability to prescribe those medications, which came into effect four days before he travelled to Port Lincoln to seek revenge on the pharmacist.
The court heard Holder employed a private investigator to ascertain the pharmacist’s home address and that the GP drove past her house before heading to the pharmacy.
Justice Ann Vanstone said Holder attended the pharmacy with a bunch of carnations and a 15-centimetre filleting knife in his suit pocket.
“When the victim approached, you held out the flowers to her with your left hand and with your right hand took the knife from under your suit coat and struck at her with it,” she said.
“There were several striking motions. The victim defended herself effectively.
“She was able to take hold of your right arm so as to prevent the knife entering her body.
“She was younger and stronger than you and she was able to force you into a display stand where you stumbled.”