In court, Singapore doctor quizzed over wrong underwear

(Second from left) General practitioner Wee Teong Boo at the Supreme Court. — TODAY pic
(Second from left) General practitioner Wee Teong Boo at the Supreme Court. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, May 25 — The day after he allegedly raped a female patient during a medical examination, general practitioner Wee Teong Boo was still wearing the same outfit when the police followed him home from the clinic for investigations.

While the police were collecting evidence, he voluntarily handed over the shirt and trousers he had on, but knowingly let the officers seize the wrong pair of underwear — one that was left in the laundry basket at his home instead of the one he was wearing.

It was only two days later that the right pair of underwear was taken by the police.

Asked by the prosecution why he did not speak up when he knew that the investigating officer was taking the wrong pair of underwear, Wee told the High Court: “If the police want to be stupid, there is nothing I can do.”

Moments later, the 67-year-old retracted the remark with an apology.

The doctor was cross-examined yesterday on the 10th day of a trial, where he is accused of raping a patient on December 30 in 2015 during a consultation at 11.30pm.

The patient, now 26, had testified earlier this month that Wee had told her to take off her shorts and underwear in the examination room at his clinic in Bedok before the offence. Wee has denied her claims. The victim cannot be named due to a gag order.

During Thursday’s hearing, the testimony on his underwear invited several questions, one of which was also from Justice Chua Lee Ming, who asked Wee why he did not clarify then that the item the police had seized was not pertinent to the case.

“I didn’t think (the investigation officer) will believe me,” Wee said.

Probed further by the prosecution if he realised that handing over the right underwear at that point could prove his innocence now in what he felt was an “unfair rape allegation”, Wee said that his “mind didn’t go so far at that time”.

He added that he was “traumatised” and “confused” at how a pelvic examination on the patient could end up being anything more.

No conclusions could be drawn from the shirt, trousers and underwear that Wee was said to have worn at the time of the alleged rape, because multiple sources of DNA were found on all articles of clothing, the court heard earlier.

It is not known if the underwear that was seized later had been washed.

Deputy public prosecutor Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz put it to Wee yesterday that he lied to Assistant Superintendent Carol Ong, the police officer leading investigations into his rape case, telling her that he had showered and changed out of his underpants when he had not.

Wee disagreed, claiming that it was not clear to him that the police wanted to seize the clothing he wore at the time of the incident.

At the stand, he was also questioned about his choice of medication for the patient.

Wee’s chief reason for conducting an invasive pelvic examination on the patient was because he suspected that she had pelvic inflammatory disease. He then prescribed her an antibiotic called ciprofloxacin.

However, another doctor had testified that pelvic inflammatory disease is known to be “notoriously resistant” to ciprofloxacin.

Dr Janice Tung — an associate consultant at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital who had examined the victim a day after the alleged rape — told the court previously that she would have prescribed any one of four other antibiotics, namely ceftriaxone, metronidazole, doxycycline and azithromycin.

Sripathy-Shanaz told Wee, who has been a doctor for 40 years: “I put it to you that, in this case, you prescribed ciprofloxacin only for urinary tract infection (in which an examination of the victim’s abdomen would have sufficed).”

Wee again disagreed, specifying that two of the antibiotics that Dr Tung mentioned has just 20 to 30 per cent effectiveness and one of them could lead to gastric problems.

He reiterated that the patient caught him off-guard by telling him “out of the blue” that she was also suffering from an itch at her genitals while lying down in the examination room, after she got her abdomen checked on complaints of frequent urination.

During the interrogation, the court also heard that Wee chose to note down the date of the victim’s last menstrual period at the top of the patient’s card, when it was not the first piece of information she gave during her consultation.

On the matter of Wee’s erectile dysfunction and low libido, the prosecution sought to prove that he was not impotent.

The physician, who is married with five children, testified that he tries to have sex with his wife “once or twice a month” and he would be able to have an erection “most of the time”.

The cross-examination continues today. — TODAY