MELBOURNE: An Australian doctor accused of infecting 56 women with hepatitis C while trying to conceal his own drug use has been ordered to stand trial.

Prosecutors allege anaesthetist James Latham Peters knew he carried the liver-destroying virus when he used pre-filled syringes to give anaesthetics to himself then injected the remainder in his patients.

Melbourne Magistrate Charlie Rozen-cwajg ruled yesterday that sufficient evidence had been presented to convict the doctor of all 168 charges that include endangering life.

Peters pleaded not guilty.

The women were patients at a Melbourne clinic providing abortions. They were allegedly infected over 18 months in 2008 and 2009.

It’s not clear what potential sentence Peters faces if convicted. A trial date has not been set. – Sapa-AP