SINGAPORE: A doctor accused of raping his patient was found guilty on Monday (Feb 25) of lesser charges of sexual assault by penetration and outrage of modesty.
The woman, then aged 23, accused Wee Teong Boo of raping her during a late-night consultation at his Bedok clinic on Dec 30, 2015, days after he molested her.
Justice Chua Lee Ming convicted Wee on a lesser charge as there was "reasonable doubt" over the rape charge.
Acquitting Wee of the rape charge, the judge said he was satisfied that there was reasonable doubt as to whether penile penetration could have taken place.
This is due to differing results from various tests - one in January 2016 found no evidence of erectile dysfunction, while another in April that year found that Wee was suffering the ailment.
The judge said the fact that Wee's nurses and other patients were in the clinic, as well as the claim that he raped the victim while his hands were on her legs and not guiding himself into her, added to the doubt.
However, the judge said he did not accept Wee's defence that he had been performing a pelvic examination on the patient, who had complained of frequent urination and genital itch, to rule out the possibility of pelvic inflammatory disease.
The judge cited another doctor's evidence, who said that a procedure to detect pelvic inflammatory disease would not begin with a digital examination, whether or not the patient was sexually active.
"I find it incredible that as an experienced doctor, (Wee) proceeded with an invasive pelvic exam and did not even ask if she wanted to go to a hospital," said the judge.
Wee, 68, had been a doctor for 37 years and had his own practice in Bedok, where the victim had consulted him since she was a child.
On Nov 25, 2015, he led the victim to his examination room after she went to him complaining of gastric discomfort.
The doctor asked the patient, whose identity is protected by gag order, to undo her jeans. He molested her after telling her he detected lumps in her pelvic area. However, she assumed that what he had done was necessary as she "trusted him absolutely as a doctor", the prosecution said.
The patient saw another doctor soon after, asking for a woman this time, and was told that there was a lump on her pelvic joint.
Because this provided the patient some reassurance, she returned to Wee's clinic for a late-night consultation on Dec 30, 2015, where he sexually assaulted her.
She made a police report the day after.
"SOFT LIKE A NOODLE"
The father of five had claimed during the trial that he had not used gloves or lubricant while examining the patient with his fingers as he had been caught "off-guard" by her complaint of genital itch.
Wee had told police after he was arrested that he had used his saliva as a lubricant during the examination. He explained in court that saliva was "anti-bacterial".
After he was arrested, Wee had kept quiet while police officers seized a pair of underwear they thought he had worn during the incident, even though he was wearing the very pair they were seeking.
Over the course of the trial, Wee's wife, a real estate agent, took the stand and said her husband could not have raped the patient as he had erectile dysfunction and was "soft like a noodle" when he wanted to have sex with her in 2015.
In response, the prosecution pointed to a medical assessment of Wee conducted on Jan 13, 2016, which showed there was "no degeneration in the accused's penile arteries and no evidence of erectile dysfunction as of January 2016".
The judge said he found Wee's evidence inconsistent. He had originally said that he carried out a digital exam because his patient may have had pelvic inflammatory disease, but later said that a digital exam on its own could not detect the disease.
The prosecution asked for an adjournment for submissions on sentencing as they had previously prepared submissions for charges of rape.
The High Court will hear submissions on sentencing on Wednesday.