Partner of US man behind HIV data leak loses appeal against conviction, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Partner of US man behind HIV data leak loses appeal against conviction

This article is more than 12 months old

Ler Teck Siang to start 2-year sentence on March 21

The Singaporean doctor whose American partner is at the centre of the HIV registry leak lost his appeal yesterday against his conviction and two-year jail sentence for helping the partner dupe authorities into issuing him a pass to work in Singapore.

Arguing his own case, Ler Teck Siang, 37, sought to disavow two statements he had given to the police, in which he confessed to submitting his own blood in place of that of HIV-positive Mikhy Farrera-Brochez to pass medical tests.

His explanations were rejected by Justice Chua Lee Ming, who described them as "creative but baseless and in part, illogical".

Justice Chua did not think the sentence was "manifestly excessive", noting that Ler was the instigator of the plan and that many agencies were deceived.

Ler was ordered to start his sentence on March 21. Bail was maintained at $40,000, along with electronic tagging and a curfew.

He was convicted and sentenced last September for abetment of cheating and for giving a false statement to a public servant.

In March 2008, American Farrera-Brochez took an HIV test at a Singapore Anti-Tuberculosis Association (Sata) clinic using a fake Bahamian passport. He tested positive.

Ten days later, Ler submitted a sample of his own blood in place of his partner's so that the American could get an employment pass.

Ler used the same ruse again in November 2013 to keep the pass, after the Ministry of Health (MOH) flagged the American's HIV status to the Ministry of Manpower. He initially lied to the police and MOH officers but later confessed.


Yesterday, Ler said he had fabricated the confessions.

He claimed he had lied in retaliation because of MOH's discrimination against him owing to his sexual orientation.

Referring to himself in the third person, Ler said: "The retaliation was that he was expected to be co-operative, therefore he was not co-operative."

He also said he lied because he thought that he was expected to give a "bargaining chip" to investigators to stop Farrera-Brochez from disseminating MOH data.

Ler argued there was no cheating as the American was not HIV-positive at the time.

He insisted Farrera-Brochez "most likely got someone else" to do the test at Sata "because of his fear of needles, and he had no regard for rules and regulations and laws".

Justice Chua, however, found that Farrera-Brochez did get tested at Sata and that Ler's admissions were "clear beyond doubt".

He agreed with the prosecution's argument that Ler played the role of instigator, and was not just an accessory.