SINGAPORE: A doctor on trial for brutally assaulting his girlfriend after she refused sex took the stand in his own defence on Tuesday (Nov 5) and claimed that he could not remember what happened.
Clarence Teo Shun Jie, a 35-year-old locum or stand-in doctor, told the court that he had severe alcoholism at the time and has suffered black-outs after drinking.
He allegedly locked 27-year-old Rachel Lim En Hui in a room at his Redhill flat on Aug 27, 2017.
He is accused of punching her repeatedly, hitting her head against the wall and leaving her with multiple facial fractures among other injuries.
His father called the police at around 4am, and officers at the scene heard screams and shouts coming from inside Teo's locked room.
When they broke down the door to gain entry, an officer saw the victim weeping in a corner of the room with a swollen, bloodied face, while Teo was conscious and lying on the bed.
He was taken to hospital in handcuffs while the victim spent 21 days in hospital.
Teo, who faces a charge of voluntarily causing grievous hurt and another of wrongful confinement, told the court that he suffered from severe alcoholism, while the victim purportedly has bipolar disorder.
Teo told the court that he had gone out with the victim that day for karaoke and drinks.
He remembers insisting wanting to drive despite having drunk alcohol, and recalls having sex after.
"NEXT MEMORY I HAVE IS OF WAKING UP IN THE CELL"
"The next memory I really have is of waking up in the cell," said Teo. "I have a memory of people arresting me ... handcuffing me ... next thing I know, I was in the cell."
He said he woke up in a cell at Police Cantonment Complex and had his blood samples and fingerprints taken.
He remembers telling a police officer in a statement that he really could not remember anything.
He told the court that he had met Ms Lim on dating app Coffee Meets Bagel at the start of 2017.
They then began dating, and he said they were "extremely happy" together when they were both "more stable".
"I think that my relationship with Rachel was characterised by our mental disorders," said Teo. "Both of us admitted to each other very early on in the relationship that we were sort of mentally ill and had been going through these issues even prior to meeting each other."
He claimed that Ms Lim told him she had been suffering from bipolar disorder. In return, he told her about his alcoholism issues, which he claims he has lost jobs and relationships over.
He said that he lost a job at Gleneagles due to his drinking issues, as he was heavily intoxicated one night when he was meant to stand in for a doctor.
They would argue over "ridiculous", "nonsensical things", with "small things" blowing up, he said.
He added that he purportedly has borderline personality disorder and has problems controlling his rage, but he did not get a formal diagnosis as it might have jeopardised his career.
He started seeing a psychiatrist in 2011 or 2012 as he was "blacking out a lot" after drinking and "did really crazy things".
He claimed that he "relapsed in a very big way" when Ms Lim supposedly attempted suicide around her birthday in mid-2017, a few months before the incident.
He said he was visiting her daily in the ward and relapsed into drinking at night.
Teo claimed that he has not drunk alcohol since October 2017, when he started going for regular Alcoholics Anonymous sessions.
"PUNCHED FOR NO REASON"
In contrast to his testimony, Deputy Public Prosecutors April Phang and Amanda Sum alleged that Teo had grown "enraged and turned aggressive" when the victim expressed reluctance to have sex with him.
"When she tried to leave the room to escape from him, he pursued her, forced her back into the room, and locked the door," they said. "This was followed by a violent assault wherein the accused punched the victim's face repeatedly with great force, and hit the victim's head against the wall."
Ms Lim told the court that Teo had assaulted her after she refused to have sex with him that day.
Teo's defence lawyer Tan Hee Joek put it to her that she had been "untruthful" when she said this in court.
"That is my truth," responded Ms Lim.
The lawyer added that she had told two different people about the incident but had not mentioned to either person that the assault occurred because of her refusal for sex.
Instead, she said she had "no idea" why he assaulted her, claimed the defence lawyer.
"A woman not wanting to have sex with a man and getting punched - she's getting punched for no reason!" replied Ms Lim.
The trial continues on Wednesday with Teo on the stand.
If found guilty of voluntarily causing grievous hurt, he could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned.
He could be jailed for up to a year, fined a maximum S$3,000, or both if convicted of wrongfully confining his ex-girlfriend.