Woman who prescribed drugs to her godmother did so as part of 'doctor-patient relationship', hears court

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 June, 2014, 4:15am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 June, 2014, 4:15am

A senior radiologist who prescribed 5,900 antidepressant tablets and two painkilling patches to her philanthropist godmother, who later died of an overdose, did so in her capacity as the woman's doctor, a court head yesterday.

The anti-depressants, prescribed over four years, are controlled under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance and can be given out only by a doctor, while the fentanyl patches are said to be up to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Dr Yau Yat-yin, 55, denies one count of supplying a dangerous drug to a person not authorised or licensed to be in possession of the drug between February 2003 and September 2007.

Yau's patient Anita Chan Lai-ling was the wife of educator Chan Shu-kui. The couple were strong supporters of education and funded several schools across the city.

Barrister Giles Surman, representing Yau, asked Magistrate So Wai-tak in Eastern Court not to consider the godmother-goddaughter relationship between Anita Chan and Yau.

"The ultimate question is [Yau]'s capacity," Surman said. "If you find they were in a doctor and patient relationship, she is not guilty; if you find they were not, she is guilty."

Prosecutor Jonathan Man Tak-ho responded that whether Yau had ordered the drugs as a doctor was not the only issue in the case.

Yau had provided a great quantity of antidepressants - including midazolam, triazolam, flunitrazepam, diazepam and alprazolam - to Chan although she was not a psychiatrist, Man said.

Chan was admitted to the private Adventist Hospital in Happy Valley for a drug overdose on October 8, 2007, the court heard.

She died a few days later on October 17 at the age of 69.

Yau testified at an inquest the Coroner's Court held into Chan's death in 2010. Her testimony will be used as part of the prosecution evidence.

Surman asked the magistrate to leave out some paragraphs that Yau made in her statement at the time.

Those paragraphs were about Yau's involvement in treating Chan after her patient was admitted to hospital. That fell outside the period of offence in the current case and therefore made the paragraphs irrelevant.

So will announce his decision on Monday.