A doctor who inserted his finger inside a female patient's vagina several times and took photos of her private parts without her knowledge was acquitted of indecent assault yesterday. In Sha Tin Court, Deputy Magistrate Poon Chin-chiu said as Christopher Tong Yung-man, 31, was an inexperienced doctor, who had only graduated from university in 2004, he could not rule out that it was a genuine vaginal examination. However, it was foolish of the doctor to conduct the intimate examination without a chaperone, Poon said. On July 13, 2008, Tong examined a 32-year-old woman who had a groin rash. The complainant, visiting this doctor for the first time, told him that she had a skin disease but she did not specify that it was shingles. The magistrate said that this could have been interpreted as the complainant asking Tong for a diagnosis. Tong told the woman that he wanted to have a look at her private parts and asked her to lie down. He inserted his finger into her vagina three to five times, and asked whether she felt any pain. She felt shy and embarrassed at the time and was unaware that Tong had taken photos because she covered her eyes with her hand. She later identified herself in four photos because of a scar from giving birth. Antonio Chuh An-tung, adjunct associate professor in public health at Chinese University, told the court that photos could be used as part of patients' medical notes for a follow-up check. But medical notes compiled by Tong did not mention the intimate examination or photographs, Poon said. Police seized the photos from Tong's home computer and asked the complainant to testify in court. Prosecutor Keith Hotten said at the beginning of the trial that a vaginal examination had been unnecessary and unwarranted for the woman's condition. However, the magistrate did not rely on two expert witnesses called by Hotten. Dr Bobby Shum Shui-fung, consultant forensic pathologist from the Forensic Pathology Service, was disallowed as an expert witness because his last consultation at a clinic was 25 years ago, Poon said. Also, Shum could not distinguish between genital herpes and shingles. The second expert, Dr Yvonne Lo Yuen-chung, assistant professor in family medicine at Hong Kong University, had only started her private practice last month - two weeks before she testified in court, Poon said. Chuh and Professor Albert Lee from Chinese University's school of public health and primary care were called by the defence, who said that a vaginal examination had been necessary. 'Dr Chuh went further and said that the defendant was entitled to form an impression that the patient did give implied consent,' Poon said, adding that he was hesitant about that. Poon said it was unreliable for experts to diagnose the complaint based on the photographs because the only symptom was redness. 'Even if Professor Lee was correct in judging the redness of the skin at the vagina, I wonder if he took into account the fact that there was a recent intrusion into the vagina by the defendant's finger,' he said. In 2003, Tong was acquitted of indecently assaulting a woman at a book shop. She had accused him of putting his hand under her miniskirt. Tong said he was squatting but lost his balance when trying to stand up and accidently touched her. A magistrate found the prosecution did not prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt.