S'porean doctor, 52, acquitted of molest after female 'victim', 33, admitted to lying often in court

She still cannot be publicly named due to a gag order.

Belmont Lay | August 17, 2021, 04:34 AM

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A doctor in Singapore has been acquitted of all molest charges, after the woman who accused him of performing multiple acts that outraged her modesty, admitted to lying in court.

Walked free

Yeo Sow Nam, 52, an anaesthesiologist, was given a discharge amounting to an acquittal by the court for being wrongly accused.

As a result of the acquittal, the Singaporean man can no longer be charged with the same offences.

Defence did not even begin case

The defence team did not even get to begin their case.

The prosecution withdrew the charges mid-trial after reviewing the evidence and the defence’s representations.

Yeo had all four counts of molestation charges against him dropped as a result.

What were the accusations?

Yeo was accused of molesting the woman, now aged 33, on the 12th floor of Mount Elizabeth Hospital on the evening of Oct. 9, 2017.

Yeo is a director at The Pain Specialist.

The woman accused the doctor of putting his hand around her shoulder, pulling her towards him, kissing her head, squeezing her waist, and cupping her breasts.

Woman cannot be named

The Straits Times reported that the court heard on Monday, Aug. 16 that the woman was not a patient, employee or a fellow doctor.

Her relationship with the doctor is under wraps as part of the court-imposed gag order, which also prevents the accuser from being publicly named.

Yeo was previously offered bail of S$10,000 when his case was brought before the court in February 2020.

Woman claimed she lied in court

During the trial, which started in March 2021, the woman admitted in court that she had told several lies, ST reported.

Yeo is represented by lawyers Eugene Thuraisingam, Chooi Jing Yen, and Johannes Hadi.

When cross-examined by Thuraisingam, the woman admitted she lied so often in court that she could not remember when she was truthful.

The defence lawyers said in their submissions that the "complainant is not an 'alleged victim'... but a self-confessed perjurer", according to CNA.

They also said the woman admitted that she changed her evidence to make her overall story more believable, ST reported.

The defence lawyers submitted: "She should not be permitted now to abuse the protection of the gag order to escape the usual operation of the open justice principle."

Defence lawyers wanted woman's identity made known

The submissions by the defence team also called for the woman to be publicly named and to "disqualify her from continued protection under the gag order", ST reported.

However, CNA reported that the defence lawyers withdrew their application to name the woman.

The law currently prohibits the woman from being named until or if she is charged with giving false evidence.

But should she be charged with giving false evidence, the defence lawyers would reserve their rights to apply for the lifting of the gag order in the future.

The Deputy Public Prosecutors did not say if they intend to charge the woman.

Doctor issues statement

In a public statement on the day of his acquittal, Yeo said he is "vindicated by the grace of God".

This is his statement in full, via his lawyers:

1. In 2017, I was the victim of false and scurrilous allegations by a female who interacted with me in the course of my practice as a medical specialist. For the avoidance of doubt, she was not a patient, an employee of my clinic or any medical institution, or fellow medical practitioner.

2. I have maintained my innocence from the start.

3. Today, midway through the trial and after the complainant confessed to knowingly lying to the Court about material aspects of her allegations, the Prosecution has unconditionally withdrawn the charges against me. By the grace of God, I have been acquitted of all charges.

4. The past 4 years have been an ordeal for me, my family and friends, my staff, and my patients. Despite the distinction and professionalism with which I have served the community as a doctor, I have had to endure the distress and ignominy of being publicly accused of sex crimes I did not commit.

5. Now that I am vindicated by the grace of God, I wish to thank my patients and colleagues for their trust in me throughout this difficult time. I also thank the Singapore Medical Council, the Singapore Medical Association, the Academy Medicine of Singapore, the hospitals, and the wider medical community for standing by me. Most importantly, I thank my family and friends who have carried me through this tribulation with their support and prayers.

6. I am glad that truth has prevailed today. However, I am also disappointed that with her lies, the complainant has jeopardised the good, necessary, and difficult work of ensuring access to justice for real victims of sex crimes, many of whom already hesitate to accuse their attackers publicly. I hope that today’s verdict does not discourage real victims of sex crimes from coming forward, or set back the moral agenda in their favour.

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Top photos via Mount Elizabeth & Parkway Life Reit