Singapore – Ler Teck Siang, the doctor found guilty last September of deceiving the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and providing false information to the Ministry of Health (MOH), and the police, could face further disciplinary action in addition to a suspension from medical practice as well as jail time.
On March 12 (Tue), the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) released a statement regarding an extension of disciplinary actions toward the doctor at the heart of the HIV data leak.
“Dr Ler has had his medical registration suspended for nine months that started on Mar 7 (Thur). The suspension was declared by an Interim Orders Committee (IOC) which would disclose more information on its decision “in due course,” said SMC.
The day before SMC released the statement, Dr Ler appealed against his conviction and 24-month sentence. His appeal was denied by a High Court. Instead, the SMC mentioned that it would “review matter” and look at “further disciplinary action” for the doctor whose prison sentence starts on March 21.
The 37-year-old doctor was convicted in Sept 2018 for having helped his HIV-positive partner Mikhy Farrera-Brochez provide MOM with a fake HIV test and for giving a false statement to a public servant.
Aside from his current convictions, Dr Ler is also facing various drug charges as well as a pending charge under the Official Secrets Act for disregarding his responsibility to treat the information from the HIV Registry with utmost care.
According to the SMC, the doctor is faced with three drug charges for allegedly providing methamphetamine to an individual in a hotel, for failing to give a urine specimen to the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), and for possessing a syringe to be used for drugs.
Dr Ler is scheduled to begin trials for these charges in May.
It was mentioned in an article by Channel NewsAsia, that the SMC recognised the importance of maintaining public confidence in the medical profession while the doctor’s legal proceedings were in place. The council is aware that the appeal made by the doctor was not dismissed during his suspension yet they are considering “the seriousness of the convictions and the pending charges against Dr Ler.”
“The information on the convictions and the pending charges was therefore referred to an IOC for the purpose of determining if it was necessary for the protection of members of the public or was otherwise in the public interest, or was in the interests of Dr Ler, that his registration be suspended or be made subject to conditions or restrictions,” added the council
The doctor is currently out on bail at S$40,000 on top of his two-year prison sentence.
His practicing certificate, that had expired last Dec 31 is currently under review for renewal, following the charges against him and his sentences.
Mikhy Brochez, who leaked the personal information and HIV-positive statuses of 14,200 people from Singapore’s HIV Registry online was deported from Singapore last April. He had served his designated sentence for fraud and drug offences. He has since been facing charges in the US state of Kentucky for his actions.
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