SINGAPORE: A doctor was found guilty on Monday (Mar 9) of locking his then-girlfriend in a room and assaulting her when she refused him sex.
The woman suffered multiple facial fractures, bleeding in the brain and a fractured finger, and had to be treated for acute stress disorder.
Clarence Teo Shun Jie, 35, was convicted of one count each of voluntarily causing grievous hurt and wrongful confinement after a trial.
His defence counsel had argued that Teo suffered an alcoholic blackout and could not form the intention to commit the offences, but the judge dismissed this argument.
The incident occurred in the early hours of Aug 27, 2017, when Teo went to his Redhill flat with his girlfriend, 27-year-old Rachel Lim En Hui.
They had returned to the flat after a night of dinner, drinks and karaoke and Teo wanted to have sex with the victim in his bedroom.
However, she did not want to as she was very tired, but Teo removed her shorts and penetrated her while she lay unmoving on the bed.
When she expressed her displeasure by saying “why is it always about what you want?” and “why don’t you care about what I want?” Teo began his assault on her.
He locked her in his room and continually assaulted her until the police arrived, following a call by Teo’s father who was woken up by the commotion.
The defence did not dispute that Teo had caused the injuries on the victim, or that he had confined her in his bedroom by locking the door.
However, they argued that Teo had an alcoholic blackout at the time of the offences and could not have possessed the intent to commit them.
JUDGE DISMISSES ALCOHOLIC BLACKOUT DEFENCE
In order to prove this defence, Teo had to show objective evidence of the level of intoxication and the surrounding facts must show that he was so intoxicated he could not form the intention to commit the offences.
Referring to findings by both the prosecution’s and defence’s medical experts, Principal District Judge Toh Han Li found that Teo’s blood alcohol content fell between 165 to 225mg/dl at 4.12am that day, two hours after he returned to his flat.
Teo’s estimated blood alcohol content falls below the thresholds of 250 mg/dl, where alcoholic blackout has a higher probability of occurring, and the threshold of 300mg/dl, where a person would be unconscious or in a stupor, said the judge.
He added that Teo would likely have greater alcohol tolerance with a lower likelihood of an alcoholic blackout, as he was a regular drinker.
The judge also said that an inability to form a memory after the event was separate from the ability to form an intent at the time of the offence. Teo had testified that he did not remember assaulting the victim.
Both Teo’s father and a police officer who went to the scene testified that Teo did not appear drunk or that they had not observe him being drunk that morning.
The judge added that he agreed with the prosecution’s medical expert that Teo’s ability to perform targeted and complicated actions such as driving a car, locking the door and having sexual intercourse pointed towards mental capacity on Teo’s part.
He was able to remember the victim performing oral sex on while while he drove, and having sex with her at his home, but could not recall anything of the assault.
“I find that the accused’s ability to recall more and more events over time rather contrived, such that by the time of the trial, it was effectively only the memory of the assault which was subject to the alcoholic blackout,” said Judge Toh.
“I also find that the targeted injuries on the victim’s face point towards the accused’s sufficient cognitive ability to aim his assault at a specific area,” said Judge Toh.
If Teo did not have the intention, his blows would have been unfocused and non-directed, said the judge.
The victim testified that Teo targeted her face as he had a “deep-seated urge to … ruin (her) face” as he had told her in the past, “Oh, you think you’re very pretty is it? You’re … not pretty okay?” before assaulting her.
The judge found the victim’s evidence compelling and did not find any material inconsistency with her evidence in court and her statement to the police.
Teo will return to court for mitigation and sentencing for the offences he claimed trial to on Apr 17.
He faces other charges of voluntarily causing hurt, which he intends to plead guilty to.