A disgraced Hawke's Bay doctor who stupefied and indecently assaulted his patients has been jailed for five years.
David Kang Huat Lim, 42, stood trial in the Napier District Court in May this year charged with five counts of stupefying and eight of indecent assault.
He used a sedative, Midazolam, on four male patients so he could assault them while working as a GP at The Doctors in Hastings in 2014.
The jury heard evidence over eight days, including testimony from the four complainants, expert witnesses and Lim, who took the stand and denied each of the charges.
He was found guilty of five charges each of stupefying and indecent assault, and not guilty of three counts of indecent assault.
This morning Judge Geoff Rea sentenced him to five years' imprisonment.
Defence counsel Harry Waalkens QC asked for a starting point of three years and three months imprisonment; asking the judge to take into account the punitive consequences Lim had already suffered as a result of his "very significant fall from grace".
It was inevitable the suspended doctor, who had lived an isolated life, would be struck off the register and was left with little financial means, Waalkens said.
Crown Prosecutor Steve Manning said the words "embarrassed" and "ashamed" recurred in the victim impact statements.
The vulnerability of the complainants, all young men of Maori or Pacific Island descent, was made worse by Lim's use of the sedative Midazolam, he said.
"What sets this case apart from others is the combination of factors and they are unique being a medical practioner, supefication and the indecent assault of patients."
The defence case was that the patients knew Lim was "overtly 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.
Manning told the jury Lim had used the drug 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.
Lim was born in Malaysia and had lived in Hawke's Bay for more than 10 years.
He practiced at the Hawke's Bay Hospital's Emergency Department before starting fulltime at The Doctors in 2009. He practiced at the clinic until police charged him in late 2015.
Police made inquiries after a young man reported he was sedated by Lim while being treated for a dislocated finger and woke up to feel Lim's hands on his private parts.
His mother said she had heard her son cry out "You better not be touching my b****!" while he was behind a drawn curtain with the doctor.
The 18-year-old cried as he described feeling "disgusted" on the witness stand.
The Doctors Hastings general manager Janine Jensen declined to comment.