Doctor lied about inability to recall assault on girlfriend after she refused sex: prosecution

Wan Ting Koh
Photo from Getty Images

SINGAPORE — A doctor who assaulted his girlfriend severely but claimed not to remember the incident was lying, the prosecution stated on Wednesday (6 November). 

Locum Clarence Teo Shun Jie had carried out a “deliberate and cold blooded attack” on the 27-year-old woman in his room, even locking the room door to prevent her escape, said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) April Phang.

Teo had blocked the memory of the assault to escape responsibility, said DPP Phang in her cross examination of the 35-year-old man on the third day of his trial.

He is accused of carrying out a violent attack on Rachel Lim En Hui at his Redhill flat between 2am and 4.12am on 27 August 2017 after confining her in his bedroom. The assault left Lim with a broken nose and multiple facial fractures that required plastic surgery.

Lim had earlier testified that Teo had beaten her up after she expressed reluctance to have sex with him. However, according to Teo, they did have sex.

While the couple had an argument, Teo testified that he did not remember the assault on Lim, saying that he only recalled being arrested and waking up in a jail cell. Before the assault, the couple had drinks at a karaoke lounge and a Thai disco.

Teo added that he vaguely recalled Lim offering him Zopiclone, a sleeping pill, on the day of the incident. However, no drug test was taken. A blood alcohol test conducted after Teo was arrested showed that he had 115 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of breath.

DPP Phang rejected Teo’s account, calling his memory loss “incredible and very convenient”.

“You are intentionally blocking this memory and are adamant that you know nothing about it cause it will cement your guilt,” DPP Phang told Teo.

Teo was also not as drunk as he made himself out to be, she added. The accused disagreed with her statements.

When Teo chased after Lim, he punched her face repeatedly, according to the DPP.

Referring to Teo’s background as a medical professional, DPP Phang added that it was “absurd” for him to have consumed drugs voluntarily with alcohol, and blame Lim for offering them to her.

But Teo said that Lim was partly responsible.

“I admit that it is impossible for her to force it down my throat. However, I never would have taken it if she never suggested it to me in the first place,” said Teo, adding that he would not have taken the medication if he was sober.

Teo, who has been diagnosed with alcoholism, stated that he was not in control of his actions when he was drunk. He told the court on Tuesday that he had taken Zopiclone at Lim’s behest in an earlier incident when he was drunk and agitated.

Teo’s father called the police

Teo’s father, Teo Kim Poh, testified on Wednesday that he heard a “loud commotion” and Lim screaming loudly from inside his son’s room on 27 August 2017.

Before the episode, he woke up to open the door for his son and Lim when they returned home. The IT professional noted that his son smelled of alcohol.

The older man returned to bed but was alerted to a “soft crying sound” that came from his son’s room, which was beside his.

He went to his son’s room door but returned to sleep when he did not sense anything amiss. Fifteen minutes later, a much louder crying sound attracted his attention. He knocked on his son’s door to ask what was happening, but returned to bed when he did not get a response. A loud commotion then alarmed him.

“I then rushed out from bed into living room and knocked very frantically on my son’s bedroom door very hard and asked both of them to cool down because they were arguing,” said the elder Teo.

He contacted the police at about 4.12am after Lim responded from inside the room to say she was “not okay”.

Upon their arrival at the scene, police officers kicked the door open and the older Teo saw his son lying face down on the bed seemingly “dead drunk”.

“Rachel called out to me saying ‘Uncle I want to talk to u’. I told Rachel I don’t want to listen as whoever is right or wrong, I don’t want to make a judgment,” said the older Teo.

One to two days after the incident, when the older Teo asked his son what happened, the latter said Lim might have slipped him a pill.

Asked by the prosecution how the younger Teo was like when he was drunk, the father, who was aware of his son’s alcoholism, said that he would leave him alone.

The father added that the son had never been violent to him or his sister, who also lived at the flat. He was also not aware that his son might have been violent to previous girlfriends.

The trial will resume in January next year.

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Doctor who allegedly attacked girlfriend for refusing sex claimed he couldn’t recall incident