A senior Queensland health executive has admitted to placing a dressing gown over his wife’s mouth to muffle the sound of her yelling during an alleged domestic violence incident, a court has heard.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service executive director of medical services Piotr Swierkowski has been charged with choking, suffocation or strangulation in a domestic relationship, in an incident that allegedly occurred on Monday night.
Dr Swierkowski is accountable for professional standards of care across Queensland’s fifth largest hospital and health service.
He appeared in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court on Tuesday via video link from inside the police watch house, in a bail application hearing.
Dr Swierkowski, 43, was represented by duty lawyer Loren Fabian, who told the court her client had worked for Queensland Health for more than nine years, was of good standing and feared the implications of the charges on his role at the health service.
She said Dr Swierkowski admitted to placing a dressing gown over his wife’s mouth, but denied choking her.
Ms Fabian said he allowed his wife to call police after the incident took place.
Stood down from duties
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant David Bradley said police opposed bail and that further evidence was still being collected.
Senior Sergeant Bradley told the court Dr Swierkowski’s sisters-in-law were about to provide statements to police referencing what he said was a long history of unreported strangulation offences.
The Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service said in a statement that Dr Swierkowski had been stood down from his duties pending the outcome of legal proceedings.
Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist adjourned the application until tomorrow after citing the difficulties involved for the duty lawyer who had not had time to prepare for the hearing.
Ms Fabian said she had received advice that Dr Swierkowski would be ineligible for legal aid because of his income.