Weeping nurse recalls sex assault

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2012, 12:00am

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The sexual assault trial of a Queen Elizabeth Hospital doctor began yesterday with a nurse fighting back tears as she described how the defendant repeatedly pressed his genitals against her during work.

The nurse told Kowloon City Court that Dr Allan So Cheuk-wai, 35, attacked her three times within a year while she was on duty.

In all, So stands accused of sexually assaulting three nurses and exposing himself to a 20-year-old student who lives near his home in Hung Hom. All the incidents are alleged to have happened between January 2010 and February of this year.

So pleaded not guilty to five counts of indecent assault, three counts of committing an act outraging public decency and one count of indecency. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in jail.

The 41-year-old nurse who testified yesterday before Deputy Magistrate Ko Wai-hung said she first reported So to police after the third attack last June.

She said So approached her from behind and, wearing trousers, pressed his genitals against her left palm while she was reviewing admission records at a nursing station. He leaned his weight on her, preventing her from removing her hand.

She said she soon told a group of three doctors: 'He did it again.'

The witness began to weep when prosecutor Jonathan Man asked what she meant. 'It was not the first time,' she said. Man briefly withheld his questions as she got her tears under control.

The nurse then told how So had attacked her twice before in July 2010. The first time was when she was with a group of doctors inspecting a neurosurgical ward. So walked past her from behind, and, through his trousers, pressed his penis against her buttocks for three to five seconds.

The second time, So approached her to ask something about work and pressed his genitals against her right hand, she said.

'I was very frightened,' she told Man. 'I walked two steps sideways.'

Still, she did not report the incident until another nurse confided in her a few weeks later about a similar experience involving So. The doctor was suspended for two weeks and later returned to work.

So's lawyer, Graham Harris SC, asked the nurse why she waited so long to report the incidents. She explained that she was worried about hurting So because 'he had a very little boy and at that time his wife was pregnant'.

Harris also noted that the nurse continued to maintain a friendly relationship with So after the first two incidents, remaining Facebook friends with him and sending him a birthday greeting on the social networking site.

So had a reputation for telling dirty jokes and was ill-tempered, said Harris, who suggested that such things had made him unpopular at the hospital.

So is also accused of assaulting and exposing himself to two nurses, aged 27 and 35.

The trial is scheduled to continue today.