Body modifier breached duty of care: Crown – The West Australian

Body modifier breached duty of care: Crown – The West Australian

A self-proclaimed extreme body modifier's care towards a woman before her April 2017 death falls so short of what's reasonable, he should be convicted of manslaughter, a prosecutor says.

Chris Taylor on Tuesday leaned into one expert's "ticking time bomb" descriptor of procedures at Brendan Leigh Russell's body modification studio in a NSW Central Coast shopping centre.

Russell, 40, has pleaded not guilty to the April 2017 manslaughter of a woman who paid him $450 for a plastic snowflake hand implant and died three weeks later.

The body modifier is also defending charges related to two earlier customers, including a woman who received a "tummy tuck" in November 2016.

The trial has been told the implant was not registered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Dr Ron Bezic, a member of the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery's executive council, had described the insertion of unregistered devices of unknown origin in such a setting as a "ticking time bomb", explaining it was only a matter of time until someone developed a fatal infection.

He said a hand implant procedure should include administration of prophylactic and antibiotics, a sterile field, an antibiotic wash of the skin pocket, a TGA-registered implant and the patient leaving with antibiotics and instructions about signs of infection.

"None of those safety measures was attended to - contributing to or constituting the breach of duty," Mr Taylor said in his closing address on Tuesday.

The prosecutor said Russell played a causative part in the sequence of events that gave rise to death.

The "high-risk" hand implant procedure led to infection, after which Russell "deterred" the woman from seeking the medical treatment that was required, Mr Taylor said.

"(He) assured the deceased her hand was not infected when it was and ... simply encouraged the deceased to take migraine pain medication," he said.

That amounted to criminal negligence, he said.

The defence has cast doubt on the claim the woman died of sepsis, pointing to a potential overdose of prescription drugs.

Russell's lawyer, Michal Mantaj, will deliver his closing address on Thursday.

Mr Taylor submitted Judge Helen Syme would have little trouble finding Russell committed the other two offences.

The Crown alleges Russell intentionally caused grievous bodily harm to a young mother when giving her what was supposed to be a "tummy tuck" in his studio in Erina Fair shopping centre in November 2016.

The trial has been told the mother signed no consent form and was provided little information about the procedure.

Even if she did provide informed consent, the judge "could be extremely confident there is no defence in a body modification case to simply claiming the person subject to the procedure consented to it," Mr Taylor said.

The mother said Russell told her it would be a "pretty much easy procedure".

But she was left in "extreme pain" and required surgical intervention to overcome substantial scarring and infection.

Mr Taylor said there was "a world of difference" between Russell's case and criminal cases against suspended medical practitioners "because, number one, he is not a registered medical practitioner".

The body modifier accepts he did partially excise a woman's labia in January 2015 but denies he broke a law forbidding such procedure in non-medical circumstances.

Mr Taylor said there was no defence available and any suggestion the law only applied to child victims was wrong.

The trial's been told Russell conducted procedures including tongue splitting, ear lobe reconstruction, ear cartilage removal, belly button removal, genital implants and branding.

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Body modifier breached duty of care: Crown - The West Australian

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