SMC mulling disciplinary action against doctor acquitted of sexually assaulting patient

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·3-min read
Singapore's Supreme Court. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
Singapore's Supreme Court. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Medical Council (SMC) said on Friday (24 July) it is considering disciplinary action against a doctor who was recently acquitted of sexually assaulting and molesting a patient.

Dr Wee Teong Boo, 69, was acquitted by the Court of Appeal on 10 June of sexually assaulting and molesting a 23-year-old patient over two separate occasions at his clinic in Bedok five years ago.

Following his earlier conviction on the two charges by the High Court in February last year, the SMC had suspended Dr Wee from practicing. In response to queries by Yahoo News Singapore, the medical watchdog said that the suspension order has since been lifted “given that the conviction was overturned”, and that the doctor will have to apply for a practicing certificate if he wishes to return to work.

“The SMC is studying the court’s judgment to determine its next actions in relation to Dr Wee’s professional conduct,” a spokesperson said.

“As deliberations are presently under way on whether disciplinary proceedings are to be brought against Dr Wee, the SMC seeks the public’s understanding that it is unable to comment at this juncture so as to avoid prejudicing any such proceedings,” she added.

About the case

Dr Wee had been prosecuted for allegedly stroking the patient’s vagina with his fingers in his clinic on the afternoon of 25 November 2015, when she visited him for gastric discomfort. One month later, on 30 December, he was alleged to have raped her in his clinic at night, when she visited him for frequent urination and an itch on her private parts.

In February last year, a High Court judge acquitted Dr Wee, who owns Wee’s Clinic and Surgery in Bedok North Avenue 2, of the rape charge. But the judge convicted the doctor, who has been practicing for nearly four decades, on an amended charge of sexual assault by penetration for the 30 December incident, along with molestation for the 25 November incident. The doctor was sentenced to 10 years’ jail in total.

Dr Wee, who suffers from erectile dysfunction among other health issues, then appealed against his conviction and sentence, while the prosecution cross-appealed against the rape acquittal.

Last month, the apex court acquitted Dr Wee of the charges after finding various aspects of the victim’s evidence troubling and that it was riddled with inconsistencies.

The Court of Appeal also said it was “troubled by the significant delay of 36 days between the alleged event and it being reported”, without any persuasive or credible explanations for the delay.

Meanwhile, the same court found that the trial judge had erred in law by convicting Dr Wee on an amended charge of digital penetration when the prosecution’s case during the rape hearing was that no digital penetration took place.

According to the victim’s account of events, “digital penetration could not have taken place, since at all times, Dr Wee was using both his hands to support different parts of (her) legs,” the apex court noted in its judgment.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon in delivering the verdict of the three-judge apex court said, “we are unable to see how the prosecution could possibly say there was no prejudice to Dr Wee in being convicted on a case that according to the prosecution and its principal witness...had never happened.”

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