One of the heads of Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service Dr Piotr Swierkowski, 43, will remain behind bars after he was refused bail on two charges of strangling his wife.
One of the heads of Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service Dr Piotr Swierkowski, 43, will remain behind bars after he was refused bail on two charges of strangling his wife. Contributed

Doctor behind bars on full pay from his $500,000+ job

A DOCTOR accused of strangling his wife will remain in prison until December, suspended but on full salary from his half-a-million-dollar-a-year Queensland Health job.

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Services executive director of medical services Piotr Swierkowski hung his head in his hands, a vein protruding from the side of his head, as Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist refused him bail.

The Maroochydore Magistrates Court heard following Dr Swierkowski's arrest Monday night, his wife told police she thought "I hope this isn't the night he kills me".

On Tuesday Dr Swierkowski denied allegations he had choked his wife. He claimed he put a dressing gown over his wife's mouth to stop her screaming, but did not block her nose.

Today, Mr Stjernqvist read harrowing excerpts of the wife's 15-page victim impact statement which detailed alleged abuse against her and their children throughout their 13-year relationship.

Today was the third and final day of the doctor's bail application.

Mr Stjernqvist told the court the onus of proof was on Dr Swierkowski to show why his continued detention was not justified, as his offences were considered "relevant offences" under section 350A of the criminal code.

Mr Stjernqvist told the court he believed if released on bail, Dr Swierkowski was an unacceptable risk of interfering with witnesses and his wife and may be "driven to use" his senior position with Queensland Health in an effort to "influence the matter".

Mr Stjernqvist told the court while the defendant had no recorded criminal history, there was evidence that the wife and children had been "for many years" subjected to emotional, financial and physical violence and cruelty which had recently escalated.

The magistrate said he was "not particularly swayed" by the defence's submission the offender would not likely receive a sentence of imprisonment, and risked serving more time behind bars than he would receive upon sentencing.

"At this early stage that's somewhat speculative," Mr Stjernqvist said.

Mr Stjernqvist told the court he was also not convinced the doctor's imprisonment would have a financial burden on the family, as the defence had argued.

"I have been shown a document that reveals -and this isn't contentious - the defendant has been stood down on his position on full remuneration," Mr Stjernqvist said.

According to SCHHS's 2017 annual report, Dr Swierkowski is responsible for all medical practitioners, patient safety, credentialing, education and research - a role with a salary package worth more than $500,000.

He was remanded in custody for a committal mention on December 14.

More details to come on the claims of abuse which led to the magistrate refusing bail.



New lease agreement may lock fishers out of harbour

New lease agreement may lock fishers out of harbour

Have your say on a new proposal that may impact on harbour fishing

Babies down, ambo transfer times steady at Coffs

premium_icon Babies down, ambo transfer times steady at Coffs

The latest Bureau of Health Information report is out.

Combating drug dependency in local youth

Combating drug dependency in local youth

Young people with drug addiction, mental illness 'growing'.

Local Partners