Psychiatrist sexual misconduct trial: Defence argues intrusive questions necessary to determine victim’s mental state, medical history

Former psychiatrist Dr Gurdeep Singh is seen at the Magistrate’s Court in Petaling Jaya August 12, 2020. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Former psychiatrist Dr Gurdeep Singh is seen at the Magistrate’s Court in Petaling Jaya August 12, 2020. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 — The defence counsel for a psychiatrist charged with allegedly insulting the modesty of a former patient told the Petaling Jaya Magistrate’s Court that the line of questioning, which were personal in nature, was necessary and part of the medical procedures for mental health patients.

Lawyer Datuk Haaziq Pillay representing the accused Dr Gurdeep Singh, said the questions that were intrusive in nature was crucial for a psychiatrist to know his patient and subsequently provide the proper medication.

He argued that the victim stating she did not like the questions regarding her alleged rape four years ago — which went unreported — her sexual history, preferences and many more by Dr Gurdeep was within his purview as a medical professional.

Haaziq: As a psychiatrist he has to ask you about your sexual history do you agree?

Victim: Agreed.

Haaziq: Since you’re seeing him for the first time do you agree he does not know you as an individual?

Victim: Yes.

The victim who had sought treatment for psychological trauma, claimed she had been sexually harassed by Dr Gurdeep since she had her first appointment in February 2019.

She said Dr Gurdeep was repeatedly asking her about her rape and was being sexually suggestive towards her even though she was uncomfortable with it.

The victim however kept in touch with Dr Gurdeep and had a second appointment in March 2019 before making a police report in July 2019 regarding his behaviour.

Haaziq however read out a list of questions that a psychiatrist has to ask their patient when they meet before they can prescribe medication which can have strong side effects.

Among them were the patient’s sexual knowledge, preferences, number of times they orgasm and whether or not they enjoy it and their sexual fantasies.

Also included in the questions were if the patient was experimental with their sexual desires, achieving or maintaining arousals, circumstances an orgasm occurs and how content the patient is after sex.

Haaziq: I’m putting it to you that as a psychiatrist who is meeting you for the first time it is incumbent upon him to ask you these intrusive questions?

Victim: I disagree.

Haaziq: If the psychiatrist does not know you and get that information it would be very difficult to treat you, you agree?

Victim: I disagree.

Haaziq: I put it to you that the words you claimed the accused uttered to you that outraged your modesty was done by him in a medical capacity as a psychiatrist?

Victim: I disagree.

Haaziq: Then when you complained about your low libido and being uncomfortable don’t you think Dr Gurdeep had to ask you these questions before prescribing the medication to you?

Victim: I disagree with the way it was done.

Haaziq: So you disagreed with the way it was done on the first visit in February 2019, are you then dictating how a doctor should treat his patient and what are the questions he should ask?

Victim: No I’m not.

Haaziq: You can’t just tell a doctor I want medication, give it to me. What must a doctor do before he decides to prescribe you medication?

Victim: He needs to ask appropriate questions.

Haaziq: So now you’re saying the doctor must ask questions that do not offend you? Whereas you went to see him only for medication?

Victim: I want him to ask me appropriate questions and look into my symptoms and diagnose me.

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

The trial continues on 17 September.


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