Oral surgeon pleads guilty to letting prison guard do dental work on sedated inmate

Oral surgeon Louis Bourget and guard Ron McDonald pleaded guilty in Gander on Monday to their role in an incident involving an inmate from a central Newfoundland jail. (Troy Turner/CBC)

An oral surgeon charged with assault — relating to an incident in which a prison guard extracted a tooth from an inmate from a central Newfoundland jail — has changed his plea to guilty.

Appearing by telephone, Louis Bourget entered a guilty plea in Gander Supreme Court on Monday morning, the same day he was scheduled to go to trial on the charge.

In October 2020, two prison guards from the Bishop’s Falls Correctional Centre — Ron McDonald and Roy Goodyear — accompanied a inmate to Bourget’s practice at the Gander Family Dental Clinic. 

While sedated, Bourget allowed McDonald to extract a tooth from the patient while Goodyear recorded it on his phone. The video was later posted on social media.

Bourget and both guards were charged but the charge against Goodyear was eventually dropped.

Bourget and McDonald were supposed to go to trial in provincial court in November 2021, but then re-elected to a judge-only Supreme Court trial, which was scheduled to begin Monday before Justice Melanie Del Rizzo. On Monday, McDonald also changed his plea to guilty.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 2 in Gander.

The stock photo shows an empty dentist chair.
Bourget and McDonald are scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 2. (iStock)

The Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Board levied a fine and suspension against Bourget. In Nova Scotia, where Bourget spends most of his time as a surgeon, the dental board there also suspended Bourget. Both suspensions have since expired.

In its decision, the Newfoundland and Labrador board stated the patient would have been unable to give informed consent to the extraction since he was sedated. 

The patient, Blair Harris, has filed a lawsuit against Bourget and McDonald and others related to the incident.

As of this month, Bourget continues to practise in Gander.

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