Armagh GP Tony Chee to face 11 more charges of sexual assault
A Northern Ireland GP accused of sexually assaulting patients is to be charged with 11 more offences, a judge has heard.
During an unsuccessful bail variation application at Banbridge Magistrates Court, sitting in Newry yesterday, a detective sergeant revealed that police are to lay 11 more charges of sexual assault against 45-year-old Tony Chee.
Dr Chee is already on bail facing eight counts of sexual assaults on seven female patients at the Richhill health centre in Co Aramgh where he worked on various dates between October 2009 and July 2011, although one offence is alleged to have happened "on a date unknown between 2004 and 2011".
Yesterday the GP, who is originally from Malaysia, asked for his bail to be varied to allow him to go on a three-week family holiday to Malaysia to visit his elderly in-laws from June 26 to July 17.
Objecting to the application, the detective sergeant told the court Chee had been further interviewed and will now face a total of 19 counts of sexual assault after complaints from patients, adding that there was a "fear of flight" in that, because of the possibility of a custodial sentence if convicted, he may decide to leave the jurisdiction.
The doctor's defence lawyer submitted that Chee had roots in the community, his children were at school here and his wife was a consultant at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
"It was fanciful in the extreme to say flight is a risk," he said.
"He is held in very high regard in the community."
Refusing the variation, District Judge Paul Copeland said with more charges anticipated, if there were a conviction the likely sentencing was a lengthy period of custody and added that not withstanding the defendant's clear record and professional status, the temptation to abscond was too high.
The judge said Chee could of course appeal his decision to the High Court.