SINGAPORE: A doctor who repeatedly assaulted his ex-girlfriend, leaving her with facial fractures and bleeding in the brain, was sentenced on Monday (Jun 22) to three years, six months and two weeks' jail, four strokes of the cane and a fine of S$4,000.
Clarence Teo Shun Jie, a 35-year-old locum, was found guilty in March of locking his ex-girlfriend in a room and assaulting her when she refused him sex.
On Monday, Dr Teo pleaded guilty to two additional charges of voluntarily causing hurt to 27-year-old Rachel Lim En Hui, with a third charge taken into consideration.
The assaults occurred in March 2017 and August 2017, with Dr Teo challenging the latter incident, claiming that he had blacked out from alcohol and could not recall what happened.
However, he admitted to the incidents in March 2017. The pair had met on dating application Coffee Meets Bagel a month before this.
They were in Dr Teo's flat on Mar 12, 2017, when the tipsy man suddenly brought up Ms Lim's past relationships and yelled at her.
When she asked him what was wrong, he punched her in the face, causing her to bite down on her own cheek and bleed from her mouth.
Realising that something was not right with Dr Teo, Ms Lim tried to leave the room, but Dr Teo threw another punch at her while interrogating her about her past relationships.
She managed to leave when he stopped being violent, and he later apologised to her, saying he had anger management issues and regretted what had happened.
She accepted his apology, as well as his promise that it would not happen again, and continued to go on dates with him, said Deputy Public Prosecutor April Phang.
WAITED FOR HER, DRAGGED HER INTO CAR
Later that month, on Mar 29, 2017, Ms Lim decided to end her relationship with Dr Teo. When she told him this over the phone, he replied with "harsh verbal abuse".
She ignored his calls and messages, but found him waiting for her at the foot of her block the next day when she left for work.
Dr Teo grabbed her hand tightly and dragged her into his car, hitting her several times as she struggled. Ms Lim tried to press the car horn to draw the attention of passers-by, but Dr Teo punched her in the face and succeeded in pushing her into the passenger seat.
He drove her to his home, where he locked her in the bedroom and punched her in the face. He then poured apple juice over her, with the air-conditioning turned on, and the victim felt cold and asked repeatedly to change out of her wet clothes.
Dr Teo let her do this, but again poured apple juice over her head when she changed into his clothes. He initially refused to let Ms Lim leave, even though she said she needed to get a medical certificate to excuse her from work.
He eventually let her go and she sought medical attention, with a doctor observing bruising on her cheek and eye, with tenderness and swelling over her face.
THE INCIDENT CONTESTED AT THE TRIAL
In August 2017, the pair went out for dinner, drinks and karaoke before returning to Dr Teo's flat, in events that Dr Teo contested at trial.
He became enraged and turned aggressive when Ms Lim expressed reluctance to have sex with him, pursuing her and forcing her back into the room and locking the door.
For about two hours, Dr Teo intermittently assaulted Ms Lim, punching her face repeatedly and hitting her head against the wall.
Dr Teo's father called the police at about 4am and the police broke down the door to see Ms Lim weeping in a corner of the room with a swollen, bloodied face, while Dr Teo lay conscious on the bed.
READ: Doctor accused of assaulting ex-girlfriend when refused sex claims he cannot remember what happened
Dr Teo had argued during the trial that he has borderline personality disorder, has problems controlling his rage and had an alcoholic blackout that night.
He said that he had been "extremely happy" with Ms Lim, during the more stable parts of their relationship.
The victim had testified that Dr Teo targeted her face as he had a deep-seated urge to ruin it. He had previously told her: "Oh, you think you're very pretty is it? You're ... not pretty okay?"
Defence lawyer Tan Hee Joek urged the court to consider the victim's injuries with a "cool level head", and argued that his client had an alcohol disorder, asking if this was "such a severe case" that caning must be imposed.
However, the prosecutor held that alcohol dependency or intoxication were not mitigating factors, but were aggravating factors instead.
The victim had sustained multiple fractures, required plastic surgery and hand surgery and was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
She also had plates and screws inserted into her hand, which affected her progress as a piano student, and a doctor said her eye area might droop when she is older.
READ: Doctor who says he can't recall attacking ex is 'lying' to fabricate a psychiatric defence: Prosecution
For voluntarily causing grievous hurt, Dr Teo could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned. The penalties for voluntarily causing hurt are a maximum of two years' jail, a fine of S$5,000, or both.
For wrongful confinement, he could have been jailed for up to a year, fined up to S$3,000, or both.