Lim “took advantage” of the young men whom he was treating for minor ailments by administering a sedative drug, Midazolam, to induce them into a semi-conscious state.
“His true intention was not a medical one; rather, so he could take advantage of the effects of the sedation on his patients,” said Crown prosecutor Steve Manning.
The touching had “no lawful medical justification”
The 41-year-old doctor, David Kang Huat Lim, allegedly gave each patient the sedative midazolam and touched their genitals while alone in toilet cubicles, a treatment cubicle, and a darkened surgical room.
In ruling the case, Manning said the four men – aged between 18 and 30 – did not know each other, and had visited the clinic for minor ailments, such as a dislocated finger or an abscess. The youngest victim is a year 13 high school student, who first alerted the case to the police.
He added that the men were not native English speakers, and that made them “vulnerable to the very attention that Dr Lim had for them.”
As the patients were given midazolam, they were conscious during the medical procedure but did not remember what happened.
“This type of touching can have no lawful medical justification,” Manning said. “None of these men required touching anywhere near their genitalia.”
He said Lim drugged them so he could touch them sexually, “safe, he thought, in knowledge they would not recall it”.
Sedative unnecessary for all four patients
According to Manning, the clinic had guidelines for the use of midazolam – written in part by Lim – that stated it should be only used on children, people having a seizure, or people in extreme pain.
“The drug was unnecessary and there were alternative treatments he could have used, but chose not to,” Manning said.
He also said the Crown's case would put to the jury the “inherent unlikelihood” that the four patients who did not know each other could come forward and shared the same experiences in the same practice with the same doctor.
He contended there were other “significant breaches” of clinic rules, with Lim "getting rid" of other medical staff, so he could be alone with the male patients.
Doctor denies allegations, lawyer says drug can cause hallucination
At the Napier District Court, the doctor has denied all 13 charges, which included five counts of stupefying and eight counts of indecent assault. Lim's lawyer Harry Waalkens QC said Lim “categorically denies” the allegations.
Waalkens highlighted that the use and effects of midazolam, urging the jury to consider its well-known side effect of hallucination. He said there were “bits and bobs in medical literature” outlining situations where people reported sexual touching that “simply could not have happened”.
However, Manning said Lim breached the clinic’s protocols by giving each patient the sedative in question when it was completely unnecessary.
“And so while there were nurses who were volunteering to help recover a patient, or, a mother who could help and watch over her son - they were being encouraged to go away,” he added.
The Medical Council has expressed concern that current laws may be allowing other dodgy doctors to remain in contact with patients. Andrew Connolly, the Medical Council Chair, said it is “having a doctor still practising who could be preying on patients that worries [the Medical Council] so much.”
The trial is expected to continue on a later date, and the Crown intends to call 23 witnesses. MIMS
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