HK chiropractor jailed for 15 months for indecently assaulting young woman during three days of treatment freed on appeal

22-Mar-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A chiropractor jailed for molesting a young patient in Hong Kong cleared his name on Wednesday, after convincing an appeal court the treatment he carried out was necessary.

Geoffrey Chan Kai-man, 66, was jailed for 15 months last August on three counts of indecent assault after a 21-year-old woman accused him of touching sensitive body parts during hip massages over three consecutive days.

But deputy High Court judge Gary Lam Kar-yan on Wednesday quashed the conviction and sentence after finding the trial magistrate had erred in law when he concluded the alleged conduct was obviously indecent and convicted Chan.

The court heard the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had complained of back pain and discomfort in her right leg when she visited Chan’s practice in Central on September 1, 2016 following her mother’s introduction.

Patient sued over unpaid HK$6 million hospital bill

The patient said she had asked Chan what her treatment would entail but was only told that she would be given a massage, before he pulled her underpants to the side and pressed the area near her vagina, with the back of his fingers occasionally brushing her private parts.

Her mother, who was present during all three sessions, also expressed surprise at Chan’s treatment, claiming he had poked her daughter’s bottom for two to three minutes and said she had uneven buttocks.

Prosecutors have failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant’s conduct carried an indecent purpose

Gary Lam, judge

Still, the patient continued the treatment, until the third session on September 3, when she claimed Chan lifted her underpants to expose her private parts for longer and pressed his fingers to her vagina. She made a police report that night.

Chan admitted at trial he had touched the area near the patient’s sensitive body parts but explained, with the support of medical literature, that pressing the buttocks and hip joints were correct procedures for treating back pain. He also said he could not recall if he had touched the woman’s private parts but added that he might have accidentally done so.

At issue, according to Lam, was whether the treatment was necessary. If so, the conduct would not amount to indecent assault.

The judge observed Chan had more than 40 years of experience in his practice and had indisputably offered an effective treatment to the patient, who had to be carried into the clinic on her first day but managed to walk unaided on her third visit.

Elderly tutor molested girl, 15, to ‘help her relax and improve health’

While prosecutors had argued an effective treatment did not mean Chan could touch unnecessary body parts, Lam said they had no counter-evidence to prove the chiropractor’s methods were incorrect and inappropriate.

Without such expert evidence, the judge said Chan’s methods appeared to be correct and necessary. He also noted that it was a common understanding of basic anatomy that massaging the hip joint would inevitably involve touching the thigh gap and even the private parts.

“Prosecutors have failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant’s conduct carried an indecent purpose,” Lam wrote. “The conviction is unsafe.”


Category: Hong Kong

Print This Post

Comments are closed.