Singapore Medical Council considering disciplinary action against doctor cleared of sexual offences by Court of Appeal

Dr Wee Teong Boon was initially convicted of sexual assault and molestation by a High Court judge last year and sentenced to 10 years' jail. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Medical Council (SMC) is deciding whether to bring disciplinary proceedings against general practitioner Wee Teong Boo, who, by his own admission, had inserted ungloved fingers into a female patient during a supposed pelvic examination.

This is despite the fact that the Court of Appeal cleared him of all charges in June.

The SMC also said that Dr Wee, who was suspended from practice after his initial conviction by the High Court last year, has not re-applied for a practising certificate.

The council has also obtained a signed undertaking from him to conduct all clinical examinations in accordance with ethical guidelines, in the event that he is allowed to practice again while the SMC disciplinary process is still ongoing.

It said on Friday (July 24): "The SMC is studying the court's judgment to determine its next actions in relation to Dr Wee's professional conduct.

"In conducting any clinical examination, including internal pelvic examinations, he shall ensure the presence of a chaperone and the use of gloves, and proper lubricant in the conduct of any such examinations."

The 69-year-old doctor had been accused of molesting a 23-year-old student at his Bedok clinic during an examination in November 2015, and for raping her when she visited the clinic again a month later.

He was initially convicted of sexual assault and molestation by a High Court judge last year and sentenced to 10 years' jail.

The decision of the Court of Appeal, which comprised Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Judges of Appeal Steven Chong and Belinda Ang, to overturn his conviction led to the lifting of his suspension order on July 16.

The order had earlier been obtained by the SMC on the basis of his High Court conviction.

The SMC said Dr Wee's signed undertaking was completed on July 12, four days before the suspension order was lifted.

"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," added the council .

Doctors can apply for a new practising certificate as long as a suspension order is lifted, among other conditions.

In acquitting Dr Wee of the rape and molestation charges, the judges of the apex court said that the woman's testimony was unconvincing.

They found it "incredible" that she initially believed Dr Wee's actions, such as touching her genital area when she went to see him for gastric discomfort, were part of the examination.

They also said that it was implausible that Dr Wee would rape the female patient given that there were clinic assistants and other patients in the clinic.

The court overturned his sexual assault conviction too, as the trial had been conducted on a rape charge, not on sexual assault.

This meant that Dr Wee did not have the chance to defend himself against the sexual assault charge which he was convicted of.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.