A BOLTON GP - jailed for 18 years after he was convicted of a string of crimes against a vulnerable girl - has taken his bid to clear his name to the Court of Appeal.

Stephen Hamilton, aged 47, practiced at the Heaton Medical Centre, was jailed last year after a Manchester Crown Court jury found him guilty of sex offences.

Hamilton, of of Gaskell Road, Altrincham, was found guilty of four counts of child cruelty, six counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault.

He has always protested his innocence and was today back in court as his lawyers began a bid to overturn the guilty verdicts.

Tania Griffiths, QC, said the jury had been deprived of the chance to assess vital evidence in the case.

Addressing a panel led by phone hacking judge, Sir Brian Leveson, she said the evidence could have impacted on the way that the jurors viewed the alleged victim's claims.

The trial judge should have allowed the defence team to put forward evidence from experts in a medical condition from which the alleged victim may have suffered.

It would have helped the jury to assess the reliability or otherwise of the girl's account of what happened to her, said the QC.

"If you don't get an expert in this case, when do you?" she asked.

The court heard the girl came forward with her complaints, saying that a conversation with another young girl about child abuse had made her realise she was a victim.

She said she had always known, but Miss Griffiths questioned whether the girl had any real memories of being molested at all.

Lawyers for the Crown are contesting the appeal, which is being heard in London by Sir Brian, Mrs Justice Patterson and Sir Richard Henriques.

Judgment has now been reserved on Hamilton's appeal until a later date.