Singapore

More jail time for ex-doctor linked to HIV registry data leak

He gets 10 more months for failing to provide officers with urine sample

Ler Teck Siang, the former doctor embroiled in the HIV registry data leak last year, has been sentenced to an additional 10 months' jail for failing to provide narcotics officers with his urine sample.

Ler, 39, also admitted to a charge under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) for failing to retain possession of the HIV registry, which he had access to when he was head of the National Public Health Unit.

This charge was taken into consideration during the latest sentencing yesterday, which marked the end of criminal proceedings against Ler, should there be no further appeals.

Ler had refused to provide his urine specimen to narcotics officers after he was arrested with a drug abuser at the Conrad Centennial hotel on March 2, 2018, the district court had found.

Last year, he was sentenced to 15 months' jail on two charges - one for injecting drugs into abusers for a fee and the other for possessing drug utensils.

This was on top of his two-year sentence for helping his HIV-positive former partner, American Mikhy Farrera-Brochez, dupe the authorities into issuing him a work pass.

The former doctor, who was struck off the medical register earlier this year, had claimed trial for all his charges except for the charge relating to the OSA.

In this latest trial, Ler, who represented himself, claimed that he did not believe the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers were giving him a "legal order" to provide the urine sample.

NO TIME FRAME

He also alleged the officers did not give him a time frame for providing the sample and did not tell him how much urine he should produce, nor did they give him a receptacle to do so.

Ler said he could have "just produced a drop of urine" in his pants and that "would have been providing urine".

Yesterday, District Judge Carol Ling said whether Ler refused to give a urine specimen or had failed to give one, the fact remains that no urine sample was produced to the CNB officers.

She added that his allegations in the trial were just afterthoughts.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lu Yiwei asked for 10 months' jail, noting that Ler had "outrightly defied" the authorities.

He had also claimed trial to the charge despite not having any excuse to and had concocted "creative excuses" for his failure to provide a urine specimen, said DPP Lu.

Details of 14,200 HIV-positive patients were leaked online by Farrera-Brochez in the registry scandal.

He was last year sentenced to two years' jail by an American court for using the stolen HIV database to extort from the Singapore Government.

COURT & CRIME