Doctor fails to escape jail for molesting patient

Winston Lee's testimony was "beset with inconsistencies", said the judge, in dismissing his appeal.
Winston Lee's testimony was "beset with inconsistencies", said the judge, in dismissing his appeal.ST FILE PHOTO

Medical doctor Winston Lee Siew Boon, 71, failed to escape jail for molesting a patient on two occasions after the High Court yesterday dismissed his appeal against his conviction and a 10-month prison sentence.

Justice Chan Seng Onn found the woman's testimony was "completely consistent internally" and that she had no motive to accuse Lee falsely of touching her breast.

On the other hand, Lee's testimony was "beset with inconsistencies" and far less logical than that of the woman, said Justice Chan as he upheld the conviction.

In rejecting Lee's appeal against the sentence, Justice Chan noted that the general practitioner - who is also known as a motoring writer - had abused his position of trust as a medical practitioner.

Lee was "particularly cunning" in disguising his act of molestation as part of his explanation of a potential medical problem while examining the patient, said the judge.

The woman trusted Lee and even gave him the benefit of the doubt after the first incident, he noted. "It is loathsome that he did not relent and tried it again by molesting her twice on the second occasion."

Lee, a doctor for 40 years, was allowed to start serving his jail term on Aug 17 and was released on bail of $15,000.

He had asked for time to transfer his 70,000 patients to other doctors, make caregiving arrangements for his stroke-afflicted wife and undergo a medical check-up.

Lee was 67 in June 2011 when the woman, 34, a medical products sales representative, went to his Bukit Batok clinic to do an HIV blood test. After her blood was drawn, she complained of nausea and flatulence and Lee told her to lie down on the bed.

She then told him she had chest pains and asked if she could continue to exercise.

Lee put his hand under her bra and squeezed her breast as he told her she could exercise as long as she did not feel pain there.

She brushed it off as part of the check-up, thinking it was the doctor's way of showing the location of her heart.

Four months later, when she saw him for a sore throat and to discuss weight management, he groped her breast twice. She was confused but made a police report after checking with her boss and a female doctor on whether Lee's actions were appropriate.

Lee's version was that he had placed a clenched fist over her breastbone to show where she would feel chest pains.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2015, with the headline 'Doctor fails to escape jail for molesting patient'. Print Edition | Subscribe