A doctor accused of raping a 23-year-old woman during a medical examination disputed a police investigating officer’s account of what happened on the day the police came to his home.
General practitioner Wee Teong Boo, 67, is on trial in the High Court for allegedly raping a university student in 2015 while she was lying on the examination table in his clinic. He also faces a second charge of allegedly molesting the same patient during an earlier consultation.
Taking the stand on Thursday (24 May), Wee recounted that the police visited his home on 31 December 2015, a day after the woman reported him to the police for an alleged rape that occurred at his clinic at Bedok North.
He said the police seized the clothes that he had worn during the medical examination on 30 December.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz then asked Wee why he did not tell the police that he was wearing the same underwear that he had worn the night before at the clinic when the alleged rape took place.
Wee replied that he did not think the police would believe him if he told them he was wearing the same underwear as the night before.
Continuing her cross-examination of Wee, DPP Sharmila asked why Wee did not offer to submit his underwear as evidence if it could prove his innocence.
Wee responded that this did not cross his mind because he was “traumatised” by the allegations, adding that he could not imagine that a pelvic examination would result in a rape allegation. He also was suffering from erectile disfunction at the time, he said.
Wee also denied DPPSharmila’s allegation that he had lied about the underwear as he was afraid that the police would find the victim’s DNA on it.
The victim, who is now 26, cannot be named due to a court-imposed gag order.
The court heard that the woman visited the clinic at about 11.30pm on 30 December 2015 to consult Wee as she had been experiencing frequent urination, gastric reflux and a cough. At the time, she had been seeing Wee for a year for help with her gastric and acne issues.
Following Wee’s instructions, the woman lay on the examination table and pulled up her T-shirt to let Wee examine her abdomen.
Wee then asked the woman to pull down her shorts and underwear to examine her private parts. The woman pulled them down to her thigh level but Wee allegedly removed them completely. He then conducted an examination of her private parts without using gloves.
Wee then repositioned the woman on the examination bed until he stood between her legs. It is around this time that Wee allegedly began raping the woman.
During Thursday’s hearing, Wee said that the victim had lifted up her own T-shirt while on the examination table without any instruction from him. He described the action as something the woman “normally does” when visiting him.
On the day the victim visited his clinic, Wee said he had been working for 13 hours with only a 90-minute break. According to Wee, the victim complained of genital itchiness after the abdominal examination on the examination table.
The victim’s complaint was “out of the blue”, said Wee.
“It was the first time I had such a complaint at the examination room with the patient lying down with her abdomen exposed telling me her genital area is itchy,” he added.
Due to it being late and the number of hours he had worked, Wee claimed that he wanted to establish a diagnosis and finish his work as soon as possible. It was unusual for a patient on the examination bed to complain of genital itchiness instead of telling him in the consultation room, he noted.
Wee added that if she had told him about the itchiness earlier while in the consultation room, he would have taken gloves and offered a chaperone during the examination.
After the examination, he realised he had not used gloves and went to wash his hands. He also did not inform the patient, said Wee. “This was a very unique situation,” he said.
When asked by DPP Sharmila if he should have worn gloves while examining a female’s private parts, Wee agreed that he should have but added that it was not mandatory.
The trial continues on Friday.