Picture: Pixabay

London - A leading British liver surgeon pleaded guilty to assault on Wednesday after he admitted scorching his initials onto the livers of two patients.

Simon Bramhall, 53, accepted two "assault by beating" charges but denied more serious charges of assault causing "actual bodily harm" at Birmingham Crown Court, reports said.

Bramhall's initials were discovered on the liver of one patient by a different surgeon who carried out a later operation.

A later investigation found that Bramhall had scorched his initials onto the liver of a second patient using an argon beam, which is commonly used to seal liver wounds, the BBC and other media said.

"This has been a highly unusual and complex case," the broadcaster quoted prosecutor Tony Badenoch as saying after Bramhall's guilty plea.

"It is factually, so far as we have been able to establish, without legal precedent in criminal law," Badenoch said, adding that Bramhall had accepted his actions were "not just ethically wrong but criminally wrong."

The respected consultant surgeon, who specialized in liver transplants, was suspended from his job at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2013 and resigned in mid-2014 following a disciplinary hearing.

The court granted Bramhall unconditional bail before a sentencing hearing on January 12.