Defence argues forensic evidence showed no inappropriate messages, advances from psychiatrist accused of sexual misconduct

Former psychiatrist Dr Gurdeep Singh is seen at the Magistrates’ Court in Petaling Jaya July 29, 2020. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
Former psychiatrist Dr Gurdeep Singh is seen at the Magistrates’ Court in Petaling Jaya July 29, 2020. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — The defence counsel for a psychiatrist charged with allegedly insulting the modesty of a former patient told the Petaling Jaya Magistrate’s Court that there was no evidence of any sexual advances from the purported correspondence between doctor and patient.

Lawyer Datuk Haaziq Pillay representing the accused Dr Gurdeep Singh, said the forensic evidence from the WhatsApp text message conversations were not only incomplete, but from February until June 2019 most of the conversations between the two were professional.

The survivor, who Malay Mail will keep unnamed, is accusing Dr Gurdeep of uttering sexually offensive words to her at Thomson Hospital Kota Damansara at around 4.30pm on February 12, 2019 on her first visit to see him.

"Subsequently she made another visit on March 23 and wanted to set a third appointment on June 3 but could not find a suitable date."

In Court, the victim read out the messages between her and Dr Gurdeep from the time she made appointments until the time she ended it.

Haaziq: Your first correspondence with Dr Gurdeep was in February 2019, then March 23 correct? After that the next correspondence was in June correct?

Victim: Yes.

Haaziq: So that whole time from February till March, everything between you and Dr Gurdeep was about treatment, medicines and suggestions to try Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR). There was nothing condescending in the messages you agree?

Victim: Yes.

Haaziq: Then at no point in time did Dr Gurdeep initiate anything with you after March until you messaged him in June correct?

Victim: I disagree.

Haaziq: But in April, May till early June he did not attempt to contact you right? You contacted him on 3 June when he was in Japan to arrange another appointment right and he was still very professional right?

Victim: Yes, we rescheduled.

Haaziq: Isn’t it rather odd that a person who offended you the first and second visit for you to continue having conversations with him?

Victim: I disagree.

Haaziq: Ok, did you ever in all these incidents WhatsApping with him ever mention the fact you were uncomfortable or slighted by his remarks? You could’ve said “Doctor I feel disgusted and offended by you repeatedly asking me about my rape” but you did not.

Victim: Yes, I agree I did not mention that I was uncomfortable.

Haaziq said the victim could have gone to another health professional but instead she kept going to see Dr Gurdeep for medication. He told her that a psychiatrist is not there just to dispense medication but they need to evaluate their patients properly before prescribing anything.

He said the questions by Dr Gurdeep was to ascertain her state of mind and mental health capacity in order to provide a proper prognosis and subsequent treatment. Hence her blaming him for asking intrusive questions was misguided.

Haaziq added that blaming Dr Gurdeep for exacerbating her problems with anxiety is wrong as she had already been seeing mental health professionals including a psychologist from University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) prior to meeting Dr Gurdeep.

Haaziq: Did the psychologist at UMMC treating you diagnose the problem with you before February 2019? Did he say you have issues that need a psychiatrist for treatment?

Victim: He did not tell me to see a psychiatrist. I was also seeing counsellors and during sessions when I constantly had panic attacks they suggested therapy and medication at the same time.

Haaziq: So he did tell you you had some underlying problems right?

Victim: Yes.

Haaziq: So you see you were already suffering from depression before seeing Dr Gurdeep.

Victim: I disagree.

Apart from that, the victim also admitted to the Court that she had deleted several messages from her phone because she did not like how she responded and was worried about how it would portray her.

Dr Gurdeep is being charged under Section 509 of the Penal Code which covers the offence of insult of a person’s modesty, which is punishable by a jail term of up to five years or fine or both.

* Editor's note: An earlier version of this article erroneously reported the victim as having met the accused for a third appointment and has since been amended.

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