The tables have turned for four young men who testified in the trial of a doctor who sedated and indecently assaulted his patients.

Strangers to one another, each of the men was called to testify against Dr David Kang Huat Lim who stood trial in the Napier District Court in May this year.

The 42-year-old doctor treated each of them for minor ailments at The Doctors in Hastings throughout an 8 month period in 2014.

Each were sedated with Midazolam and testified to waking up to find their GP touching their private parts.


"Ashamed" and "embarrassed" were words repeatedly used by the men to describe how they felt after being sexually assaulted.

"He's a doctor. Everyone trusts a doctor," one of the victims said.

However standing in the dock yesterday, his appearance dishevelled and expression sober, it was Lim who embodied shame and embarrassment.

After a 10 day trial he was found guilty of five counts each of indecent assault and stupefying; not guilty verdicts were delivered for an additional three indecent assault charges.

Throughout the trial his defence brought forward expert witnesses, medical colleagues and even Lim himself who took the stand to categorically deny the offending under oath.

Yesterday he stood before Judge Geoff Rea for sentencing with his career in tatters; his defence lawyer Harry Waalkens QC telling the court being struck off the medical register was an "inevitable outcome".

"It's an understatement to say that this matter and his appearance today represents for him a complete and utter fall from grace. His whole life is in disarray as a consequence of this matter and the convictions that he has sustained."

Mr Waalkens QC asked the judge to take into account Lim's wasted career, financial ruin and imprisonment challenges as a gay man, during yesterday's sentencing.

"There has been publicity of his name that has added to the humiliation and also furthered the very significant fall from grace. So I do ask your honour to take into account these punitive consequences that he has already suffered as a direct consequence of this matter."

Judge Rea didn't see it that way.

While acknowledging Lim had no previous convictions, he said Lim's suffering "goes with the territory".

"All of those things, it has to be said Dr Lim, go with the territory of committing this sort of offending. There is nothing special about that. If you as a doctor choose to commit this offending and are convicted of it, those sort of things are inevitably going to follow as a matter of course."

He condemned the man for using his medical knowledge to make the young men vulnerable to his indecent assaults and jailed him for five years.

"There was a certain boldness about your offending and there was a premeditated nature to it in the sense that you had clearly planned to use this drug on these occasions to facilitate your offending."

A breach of trust, Crown prosecutor Manning submitted, was at the very heart of the case.

"You will recall all of the evidence from the victims at one point or another refers to trust. For example, "everyone trusts a doctor", "who would believe me over a doctor" and similarly nurses and indeed family members all acted within that [situation] in the way they did or didn't because they trusted the doctor."

The Crown's case had been that Lim used the sedative drug Midazolam to take advantage of his patients, knowing they would struggle to believe they had been touched by a doctor and doubt their recollections because of the effects of the sedation.

All young Maori or Polynesian males, Mr Manning described the complainants as "vulnerable to the very attentions that Dr Lim had for them" during the trial.

"His true intention was not a medical one but rather so he could take advantage of the effects of the sedation on his patients," Mr Manning said.

At the very start of the trial the Malaysian-born doctor was described as "overtly gay".

His counsel argued the doctor's patients knew he was gay and that this, combined with Midazolam's side effect of hallucinations, lead the victims to see, hear and feel things that didn't happen.

But this argument fell flat when almost all of the witnesses called during the trial said they weren't aware of his sexuality.

It was an argument scrutinised by Mr Manning during his cross-examination of Lim as he held up a photograph of the doctor arriving to court in November 2016. He had short hair and wasn't wearing any jewellery or makeup.

"Have you camped yourself up to look, what you regard as, overtly gay for the purpose of this trial so you can make a submission that these young men confabulated things because you were a gay doctor?" he asked.

"No," was the short answer, in the flat tone of voice Lim used to answer every accusation put to him.

Tears were shed by the youngest complainant, 18, as he described feeling "disgusted" on the witness stand during the trial.

Yesterday the young man sat quietly in the public gallery with family and shed more tears when Lim was handed a jail sentence.

It was his complaint that sparked a police investigation into Lim's conduct and unearthed three other victims who hadn't come forward.

Detective Rob Parker said police wanted to acknowledge the courage of the four victims who made complaints against Lim.

In a statement released yesterday the New Zealand Medical Council CEO Philip Pigou said Dr Lim would be referred to a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) which would consider whether to lay professional disciplinary charges before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.

The tribunal can impose a range of penalties on a doctor including censure, suspending or imposing conditions for up to three years, cancelling their registration or fining them up to $30,000.

Speaking after the sentencing Mr Waalkens QC said he wasn't in a position to comment on the possibility of a future appeal but described the case as "very sad".

"I think it's a tragedy when someone's career comes to an end like his has and yes, it is a direct consequence of what he's been convicted of but it's sad.

"He was a doctor who was well-thought of and he had good technical and clinical abilities. What a waste."

The Doctors Hastings Medical Centre general manager Janine Jensen declined to comment.