Former gynaecologist Graeme Reeves is appealing against his conviction for mutilating a woman's genitals and indecently assaulting two other patients.
In the Court of Criminal Appeal this morning, Reeves's barrister, Peter Hamill, SC, suggested that prosecuting his client under the criminal law was not appropriate.
Last year, Reeves was sentenced to a maximum jail term of 3½ years and a minimum of two years after two separate trials in the NSW District Court.
At the same time, the Court of Criminal Appeal is hearing an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions against the sentence on the grounds it was "manifestly inadequate".
Reeves was convicted by a jury of maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on a patient who needed surgery to remove a pre-cancerous growth from her labia in 2002.
During the operation at a regional hospital, Reeves cut off the patient's clitoris and labia.
Reeves was also sentenced for the two assaults committed while he was a gynaecologist, and for deceiving the local area health service into thinking he was still a licensed obstetrician.
Mr Hamill told the three-judge appeal panel: "A doctor might be very bad and struck off or subject to a civil suit but to convict the doctor of a crime when he believes what he is doing is for the benefit of the patient - it's a step too far."
The hearing continues.