Psychiatrist-Patient and the Tort of Sexual Harassment
Around July 2019, there were news reports about a psychiatrist in a hospital in Petaling Jaya who sexually harassed his patient – the latter being a rape victim. An article by World Of Buzz contains multiple screenshots of conversations between the psychiatrist and his patient demonstrating that the former sexually harassed the latter.
The hospital received a complaint on the matter and proceeded to suspend the psychiatrist on the 6th of July 2019. Subsequently, the hospital terminated the psychiatrist’s services effective 15th July 2019.
The victim lodged a police report on the 16th of July 2019 and after conducting its investigation, the police concluded vide letter dated 13th September 2019 that:
i) there was no substantial evidence to prove the case against the suspect; and
ii) there should be no further action.
Unsurprisingly, netizens were up in arms about the police’s decision. Thankfully, on 18th October 2019, the psychiatrist was charged at the Magistrate’s Court for having insulted the modesty of his patient. The offence, under Section 509 of the Penal Code, carries a maximum punishment of imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years, or fine, or both.
Notwithstanding the Attorney General’s Chambers’ decision to charge the psychiatrist under the Penal Code, does the patient have any recourse from a civil law perspective?