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

Wan Ting Koh
Reporter
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.

Related story:

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

  • Europe loosens lockdown as virus tightens grip on Americas
    News
    AFP News

    Europe loosens lockdown as virus tightens grip on Americas

    Europe took bolder steps to ease coronavirus lockdowns Monday, opening up schools, pools, pubs and tourist sites despite fears of a second wave of infections, while in Latin America new cases climbed past the one million mark. While the United States, where the ongoing crisis has now been overshadowed by anti-racism protests provoked by police killings, is by far the worst-affected country, cases are also spreading quickly in Latin America, particularly in Brazil. Bars began to serve again in Finland and Norway -- with distancing restrictions or shortened hours in place -- while some schools in Britain and Greece opened their doors again.

  • Protests in Amsterdam, Dublin over killing of black American
    News
    AFP News

    Protests in Amsterdam, Dublin over killing of black American

    Defying coronavirus restrictions, demonstrators in both Amsterdam and Dublin carried signs saying "Black Lives Matter", referring to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. The protests that have roiled US cities for six nights have now spread around the world, with rallies as far afield as London and New Zealand. Around 3,000 protesters packed Dam Square in the centre of Amsterdam, standing close together despite coronavirus social distancing measures, local media said.

  • US foes delight in criticizing US as protests flare
    News
    AFP News

    US foes delight in criticizing US as protests flare

    With US cities in flames over outrage about police brutality, nations that are usually on the receiving end of Washington's criticism on human rights are gleefully turning the tables. Condemnation of the US record on race came from China, which days earlier faced US counter-measures for tightening controls on Hong Kong, as well as Iran, where officials have been slapped with US sanctions for suppressing protests in November. The United States is experiencing some of its worst riots in 50 years with dozens of cities under curfews following the killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man who pleaded "I can't breathe" as a white police officer pinned him under his knee for nearly nine minutes.

  • Canada's Trudeau rejects inviting Russia to G7 summit
    News
    AFP News

    Canada's Trudeau rejects inviting Russia to G7 summit

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday rejected Russia's participation in a coming summit of the G7 nations, despite host US President Donald Trump wanting to invite Moscow. "Russia was excluded from the G7 after it invaded Crimea a number of years ago," Trudeau told reporters. "Its continued disrespect and flaunting of international rules and norms is why it remains outside of the G7 and will continue to remain out," he added.

  • Pakistan embassy officials leave India after spying charges
    News
    AFP News

    Pakistan embassy officials leave India after spying charges

    Two Pakistani officials expelled by India over spying allegations returned home Monday, an embassy spokesman said, as the nuclear-armed rivals wrangled over the claims. The pair returned to Pakistan via the Wagah border crossing, which has been closed for several weeks because of the coronavirus lockdown, a Pakistan embassy spokesman told AFP. The move came amid heightened tensions between the foes over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which was split between them in 1947 when they gained independence from Britain.

  • Long lines, confusion as Venezuela sells Iranian fuel under new price system
    News
    Reuters

    Long lines, confusion as Venezuela sells Iranian fuel under new price system

    Venezuela on Monday launched a fuel pricing system that largely rolls back decades of heavy subsidies, creating long lines and leaving drivers confused as the government seeks to end chronic shortages with gasoline imports from Iran. Cheap fuel was for decades considered a birthright in the South American oil producing nation, but service stations have run dry in recent months due to Venezuela's dysfunctional refineries and U.S. sanctions meant to force President Nicolas Maduro from power. Defying U.S. threats, Iran sent a flotilla of five tankers of fuel to Venezuela, which arrived last week, and Tehran said on Monday it would send more if requested by Caracas.

  • Top doctor sparks row with claim virus 'no longer exists' in Italy
    Health
    AFP News

    Top doctor sparks row with claim virus 'no longer exists' in Italy

    Top scientists, health officials and the WHO on Monday rushed to counter claims made by a leading Italian doctor who said the new coronavirus "no longer exists" in the country. The row came as Italy prepared the next stage of its gradual easing of a national lockdown imposed three months ago to fight the spread of the deadly virus. "In reality, the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy," said Alberto Zangrillo, head of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.

  • Storm Amanda leaves at least 18 dead in Central America
    News
    AFP News

    Storm Amanda leaves at least 18 dead in Central America

    Emergency workers were searching for seven people still missing Monday as El Salvador and its Central American neighbors picked through the destruction after the first named Pacific storm of the year left at least 18 people dead. Rescue teams were trying to locate the missing in floodwaters caused by torrential rain and high winds after Storm Amanda swept in from the Pacific on Sunday, El Salvador's Interior Minister Mario Duran said. "We have 15 people dead and seven missing," Duran told reporters.

  • UN agency recommends health guidelines for airlines
    News
    AFP News

    UN agency recommends health guidelines for airlines

    Mask wearing, temperature controls, disinfection of aircraft: the International Civil Aviation Organization on Monday published a series of health recommendations for a pandemic-hit airline industry as it relaunches air travel. The protocol was drawn up by an international task force formed by the Montreal-based ICAO with the help of other UN agencies like the World Health Organization and the powerful International Air Transport Association (IATA). Its report on relaunching aviation in the wake of COVID-19 was expected to be approved Monday by the ICAO's executive committee.

  • Polish president would lose in election second round - poll
    News
    Reuters

    Polish president would lose in election second round - poll

    Polish President Andrzej Duda would lose in a second round run-off against either of his main election challengers, according to a an SWPS University poll cited by Polish media, in a sign the vote may be closer than first thought. Duda, an important ally of the ruling right-wing nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, was long seen as the clear favourite but recent polls have narrowed his lead, especially since the main opposition centre right Civic Platform (PO) party changed its candidate to liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski. Critics have said that the PiS, which was determined to press ahead with a postal vote on May 10, is concerned about the economic fallout from the pandemic eroding Duda's popularity.

  • US cities brace for more fury as officer hearing postponed
    News
    AFP News

    US cities brace for more fury as officer hearing postponed

    US cities braced Monday for more fury on the streets as a hearing was postponed for a Minneapolis police officer over the killing of an unarmed black man that ignited the country' most sweeping unrest in decades. Violence erupted outside the White House for the third straight night Sunday with police firing tear gas and protesters setting nearby structures ablaze, as inside Donald Trump refrained from delivering the sort of unifying national message historically associated with US presidents. Protests, initially peaceful, erupted after the killing a week ago of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who was accused of buying cigarettes with a counterfeit bill.

  • South African shoppers stock up on booze as sales resume
    Business
    Reuters

    South African shoppers stock up on booze as sales resume

    South African shoppers filled trolleys with cases of beer and cider and bottles of whiskey and wine on Monday as the government eased the coronavirus lockdown to allow the sale of alcohol to resume after a nine-week ban. "There is a significant amount of profit lost, we were losing turnover every day," Jimmy Constantinou, who has been managing a liquor store in Johannesburg's Alexandra township for six years, told Reuters inside the busy store. An estimated 117,600 jobs have been lost in the industry, with 13% of the craft beer sector in the process of shutting, while the wine industry was in severe distress, said Rico Basson, chief executive of Vinpro, a wine industry body.

  • Thousands face homelessness in Greek refugee relocation push
    News
    AFP News

    Thousands face homelessness in Greek refugee relocation push

    Abdelkader Rahmoun hasn't slept in days. The 44-year-old Syrian and his family are among thousands of recognised refugees about to lose the temporary homes they were given under Greece's asylum seeker housing scheme. In all the Greek authorities plan to move 11,200 people to make room for other asylum seekers currently living in dismal island camps.

  • Indonesian policeman killed in IS-claimed attack
    News
    AFP News

    Indonesian policeman killed in IS-claimed attack

    A sword-wielding militant killed an Indonesian policeman and critically injured another on Monday, authorities said, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group. The attacker was shot dead during the early morning raid at a police post in South Daha district on Kalimantan -- Indonesia's section of Borneo island. The militant -- identified as a 19-year-old local named Abdurrahman -- initially set a car on fire outside the police post, South Hulu Sungai police chief Dedy Eka Jaya told AFP.

  • Musicians provide 'medicine for the soul' across Lithuania
    News
    AFP News

    Musicians provide 'medicine for the soul' across Lithuania

    Hundreds of bands took their music to the streets of Lithuania on Monday to lift people's spirits as the Baltic EU member allowed public gatherings again after months of coronavirus lockdown. The widespread merriment called to mind the so-called Singing Revolution, which helped Lithuania and its fellow Baltic states Estonia and Latvia break free from the crumbling Soviet Union. Modestas Barkauskas, chief conductor of the Vilnius St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra, said he wanted to strike a note of optimism with four classical music pieces played in the capital's business district.

  • Antifa: 'terror' group or Trump's straw man?
    News
    AFP News

    Antifa: 'terror' group or Trump's straw man?

    US President Donald Trump has blamed the protest violence in the United States on Antifa, saying the leftist activist network will be formally designated "terrorists" on the same level as al-Qaeda and Islamic State. Both White House National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien and Attorney General Bill Barr also singled out Antifa "radical militants" for stoking the rioting. "The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization," Trump tweeted.

  • UK contact-tracing going well, system has spare capacity, says minister
    News
    Reuters

    UK contact-tracing going well, system has spare capacity, says minister

    Britain's new coronavirus test-and-trace system is working well and some of the thousands of contact-tracers who have been recruited are not yet fully occupied, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday. "We have more capacity than we need and this is a good thing."

  • In single Brazilian state, some 2,400 meat plant workers catch coronavirus, officials say
    News
    Reuters

    In single Brazilian state, some 2,400 meat plant workers catch coronavirus, officials say

    More than a quarter of the confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Brazil's southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul are among meat plant workers, the labor prosecutors' office said on Monday. The findings corroborate evidence that meatpackers have become hotspots in Brazil for the coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease. Overall, Brazil has more than 500,000 cases and nearly 30,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.

  • Bolsonaro tries to rein in backers as protests shake Brazil
    News
    Reuters

    Bolsonaro tries to rein in backers as protests shake Brazil

    Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro told his supporters on Monday they should put off their protests against the country's Supreme Court next weekend after counter-demonstrations triggered violent clashes on Sunday. "Leave things alone on Sunday," the right-wing president said, referring to the protests, at the gates of his official residence the day after he greeted supporters on horseback at a rally against the top court. Bolsonaro's critics blame him for undermining Brazil's democracy by endorsing almost weekly protests against the top court, which authorized an investigation into the president for allegedly interfering with police appointments for personal motives.

  • Turkey's Grand Bazaar reopens, along with cafes, restaurants
    News
    AFP News

    Turkey's Grand Bazaar reopens, along with cafes, restaurants

    Turkey reopened restaurants, cafes and Istanbul's iconic 15th century Grand Bazaar market on Monday as the government further eased coronavirus restrictions. At Istanbul's landmark Grand Bazaar, traders were dusting the shelves and tidying their shops while janitors scrubbed floors as the world-famous site welcomed visitors again. The bazaar on the historic peninsula also home to tourist sites such as the Hagia Sophia museum and the Blue Mosque, was closed on March 23 to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Trump urges U.S. governors to get tougher on protesters, media reports say
    Politics
    Reuters

    Trump urges U.S. governors to get tougher on protesters, media reports say

    President Donald Trump told U.S. governors in a call on Monday their response to nationwide protests made them look weak and they should take a tougher stance, according to media reports. Trump threatened to get tough himself and "activate" U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, CBS said. Representatives for the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the call after violent protests punctured peaceful demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in police custody in Minneapolis last week.

  • Russia not welcome at G7, Canada's Trudeau says
    News
    Reuters

    Russia not welcome at G7, Canada's Trudeau says

    Canada does not support Russia's return to the Group of Seven, proposed by U.S. President Donald Trump over the weekend, because Moscow continues to flout international law, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday. "Russia was excluded from the G7 after it invaded Crimea a number of years ago, and its continued disrespect and flaunting of international rules and norms is why it remains outside of the G7, and it will continue to remain out," Trudeau said during his daily news conference. Trump said on Saturday he would postpone a Group of Seven summit he had hoped to hold next month until at least September and expand the list of invitees to include Australia, Russia, South Korea and India.

  • Keep your distance: people queue for school and IKEA in England
    News
    Reuters

    Keep your distance: people queue for school and IKEA in England

    Thousands of people across England queued up for school and IKEA on Monday as the British government eased the coronavirus lockdown by allowing some children to return to class and many shops to reopen for the first time since March. The lockdown has stalled the United Kingdom's $3 trillion economy and the government has ramped up borrowing to the highest levels in peacetime history. While some schools in England allowed 4 to 6-year-olds and 10 to 11-year-olds back to school, many parents planned to keep children at home amid fears ministers were moving too fast.

  • WHO will decide on its hydroxychloroquine trial suspension in 24 hours
    Health
    Reuters

    WHO will decide on its hydroxychloroquine trial suspension in 24 hours

    The move prompted several European governments to ban the use of the drug, also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus and promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump to help combat the disease. Sanofi on Friday temporarily stopped recruiting new COVID-19 patients for its two clinical trials of the drug and said it would no longer supply it to treat COVID-19 until safety concerns are cleared up.

  • Greek hoteliers reopen, anxious for bookings
    News
    AFP Relax

    Greek hoteliers reopen, anxious for bookings

    Greek hotel owners reopened Monday after a 10-week coronavirus-imposed shutdown, relieved to be back in business but anxious about how quickly customers will return. "The hotel industry is ready -- even if it's all happening at the last minute -- to meet the new strict health protocols," said Yiannis Adamandopoulos, general manager of the Elia Ermou hotel in central Athens. The official tourist season in Greece starts on June 15, when those hotels only open for the season reopen and regular flights from abroad resume.