A self-proclaimed extreme body modification artist has been found guilty of manslaughter over the death of a NSW woman he discouraged from seeking medical help for an infected implant.
Brendan Leigh Russell, 40, has now been found guilty of three serious offences, including intentionally causing grievous bodily harm and female genital mutilation.
They relate to procedures he performed on separate women at a studio in the Central Coast's Erina Fair shopping centre between 2015 and 2017.
Russell's judge-alone trial heard the deceased woman, who cannot be identified, had a snowflake-shaped silicone implant placed in her right hand in March 2017.
When she complained to Russell of pain and possible infection two days before her death in April that year, he removed the implant, cleaned the wound and re-inserted it.
The Crown argued the cause of death was septicemia and Russell breached a duty of care.
The NSW District Court heard from multiple witnesses including neighbours who observed the hand to be red, swollen, "scabby" and bleeding.
Judge Helen Syme today accepted evidence Russell urged the client against revealing who performed the procedure if she went to a doctor.
The "overwhelming" opinion from medical witnesses was that by the time the implant was re-inserted, she required urgent medical assistance, the judge said.
"The accused discouraged her from seeking that advice, notwithstanding he was well aware of the infected state of her hand," Judge Syme said.
The judge said Russell had contractual obligations to the woman and a duty of care, in part due to their trusting relationship.
"The degree of trust, which was obvious to the accused, and his undertaking of procedures and so-called aftercare required a high standard of care different to but in the order of the standard of care owed by a doctor to a patient."
She said the woman's reluctance to tell doctors about her hand may have been because Russell previously said he would "go to jail" if anyone found out about his modifications.
The judge accepted as "compelling and well-reasoned" evidence from experts in ruling the significant or substantial cause of death was sepsis, and that Russell committed a "gross" breach of his duty of care.
Russell performed at least nine procedures on the woman, who suffered from a number of medical conditions and had long battled persistent migraines.
The grievous bodily harm charge related to a "tummy tuck" Russell performed on a woman in 2016, leaving her in extreme pain and requiring corrective surgery.
Judge Syme yesterday found consent was not a defence to that charge and there was no public interest in the services provided by Russell, which were "quasi-medical" and "clearly dangerous".
In relation to the mutilation charge, which was laid after the partial excision of a woman's labia in 2015, the judge rejected an argument that laws prohibiting genital mutilation were intended to apply to children or ritualistic settings.