Doctor accused of rape and molestation is acquitted of all charges
Court of Appeal acquits GP after being 'troubled' by many parts of his female patient's testimony
A doctor who was accused of raping and molesting a patient five years ago was acquitted of all charges yesterday.
Dr Wee Teong Boo, 69, who was originally charged with rape and molestation but was later convicted of sexual assault, walked out a free man after the Court of Appeal upheld his rape acquittal and overturned the sexual assault and molestation conviction.
Dr Wee did not make any comment when approached by reporters, but his lawyers from the Eugene Thuraisingam law firm said: "We are happy that the hard work put into the case has paid off with an innocent man being acquitted by the court."
The patient, a 23-year-old student at the time, had accused Dr Wee of molesting her by touching her genital area when she visited his clinic for a gastric problem on Nov 25, 2015.
She also alleged that he raped her during a second visit a little over a month later, on Dec 30.
Dr Wee was cleared of rape last year after High Court Judge Chua Lee Ming found there was reasonable doubt as to whether it would have been physically possible for Dr Wee to have sexual intercourse with the woman as he was suffering from erectile dysfunction.
However, the judge convicted the general practitioner of sexual assault, rejecting Dr Wee's assertion that he had inserted his fingers into the patient for a pelvic examination.
He was sentenced to 10 years' jail.
Following appeals by both the prosecution and the defence, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, along with Judges of Appeal Steven Chong and Belinda Ang, acquitted Dr Wee of all charges.
Delivering the court's judgment yesterday, the Chief Justice said medical evidence had proven that Dr Wee was suffering from erectile dysfunction at the time of the offence.
"We agree with the Judge that there was a reasonable doubt as to whether penile penetration could have taken place as alleged in this case... We find it implausible that Dr Wee could have penetrated (the woman's) vagina in the manner she described."
The apex court found many aspects of the woman's account troubling. For instance, she had testified that she initially believed Dr Wee's actions, such as touching her genital area, were part of a medical examination.
The woman had returned to the clinic on Dec 30 for a consultation with Dr Wee, her regular doctor, for frequent urination and an itch in her genital area.
During the consultation, she said Dr Wee stood between her legs and pushed "something horizontal" into her while he was moving and holding both her legs with his hands.
She said she was unsure whether this was also part of the medical examination.
While acknowledging that different people react differently to sexual assault, the judges found it "far from convincing" that the patient could have accepted the alleged acts as being part of a medical exam.
"To put it bluntly, this would have been a violation of the person at the most horrific and abusive level, and we find it difficult to understand how (the patient) could have failed to appreciate that," they said.
"The question here is not so much one that concerns a victim's reaction to a sexual assault after the trauma of the incident; rather, it is the credibility of a victim's claim of what she thought was happening, while it was happening."
In overturning his molestation conviction, the court said it was troubled by the 36 days it took her to make a report after the alleged offence.
The court had difficulty accepting the woman's testimony that it suddenly dawned on her, after making a police report for rape, that she had been molested during the earlier visit.
The apex court said Dr Wee was convicted of sexual assault based on a version of facts that was fundamentally incompatible with the case presented by the prosecution and the testimony of the woman, who repeatedly insisted that she saw his penis inside her.
The court added that Dr Wee's conviction of the sexual assault offence was "highly prejudicial".