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Singapore

Male nurse who posed as doctor and molested woman gets 7 months' jail

SINGAPORE: A male nurse who posed as a doctor and molested a woman while "examining" her was sentenced to seven months' jail on Wednesday (Jul 4).

Muhammad Ruzaini Johari, 33, was a staff nurse at an in-house clinic in Yishun.

The victim, who cannot be named due to a gag order, visited the company clinic with her husband at around 8.40pm on May 11 last year.

The 28-year-old woman had a headache, pain in her ears and a sore throat.

The pair saw that the lights were still on and thought the clinic was still open. However, the doctor on duty had left and no doctors were present when the couple arrived.

Ruzaini had stayed back in the clinic to complete administrative tasks.

When he saw the couple, he directed the woman into the consultation room. The husband stayed outside.

Ruzaini took the woman's temperature, checked her throat and used other medical tools while "examining" her, including a stethoscope and a blood pressure monitor.

He then instructed the woman to lie down on a bed. He lifted her shirt and exposed her stomach, pressing onto the area and moving downwards until his hands reached the area above her groin.

HE PLACED ELECTRODES ON HER BODY

The woman felt embarrassed but did not protest as she believed that Ruzaini was a qualified doctor, court documents said.

Ruzaini then decided to conduct an electrocardiogram test on the patient, even though he knew there was no reason for him to do so.

The test records the electrical activity of the heart and can be used to check for signs of heart disease.

Ruzaini lifted the woman's shirt and undid her brassiere, exposing her breasts.

He applied electrodes - pads pasted on the skin and connected to the electrocardiogram device through wires - on and around the woman's breasts. He also placed one each on her wrists and ankles.

At this point, the woman felt very uncomfortable and realised Ruzaini's actions were odd. She sat up and confronted Ruzaini, before getting dressed and leaving the room. She burst into tears when she told her husband what had happened.

Her husband was very angry and called the police, reporting that: "The doctor had molested my wife."

Ruzaini, who is now a trainee deck cadet with a shipping company, is not a registered doctor in the register of medical practitioners, investigations revealed. He was also not authorised to conduct any medical examinations, including electrocardiogram tests, without directions from a registered doctor.

He pleaded guilty on Tuesday. While Deputy Public Prosecutor Marshall Lim called for at least nine months' jail, the defence asked for six months' jail, saying that Ruzaini was sincerely remorseful and ashamed of his transgression.

Defence lawyer Sunil Sudheesan said the clinic closes at 8.30pm every day, a fact that was stated on the door of the clinic.

He added that Ruzaini did not know that the patient thought he was a doctor.

However, the prosecutor said that even if Ruzaini did not explicitly state that he was a doctor, the medical examinations he carried out led the woman to believe so and resulted in her trusting in him enough to lie on a bed to be examined.

District Judge Luke Tan sentenced Ruzaini to seven months' jail, saying that there was an abuse of trust, and that the woman thought she was receiving proper medical advice from a doctor. He added that there was no reason for Ruzaini to conduct the electrocardiogram test.

For assaulting or using criminal force on a person, intending to outrage the modesty of that person, he could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, caned, or any combination of the three penalties.

Source: CNA/ll/(mn)

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