Sexual assault trial of former Regina doctor begins
WARNING: Updates of this trial will include details of sexual assault allegations.
A former Regina doctor has pleaded not guilty to all seven counts of sexual assault levelled against him by several complainants set to testify at a trial that started on Monday.
Sylvester Ukabam is accused of inappropriate actions during physical medical examinations of several women at this Regina practice between 2010 and 2018. The women accusing Ukabam are the subject of a publication ban application by the Crown protecting their identities and any identifying information.
Ukabam, began by replying only “not guilty” in response to all seven charges read against him.
According to the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons, Ukabam gave up his licence effective Dec. 9, 2018. He also agreed not to practice medicine anywhere in the world again.
Ukabam was a gastroenterology specialist, which encompasses digestive diseases according to WebMD.
THE FIRST COMPLAINANT
The first complainant to take the stand was a woman who underwent a colonoscopy at the then-doctor’s practice while “consciously sedated”.
She began by saying she had not previously had any association with the other women involved in the case.
The first complainant told court she was advised to seek a colonoscopy due to family medical history.
The first complainant told court she was advised to seek a colonoscopy in 2015 due to family medical history.
When questioned by the Crown, she described Ukabam as a “man of few words” with a “business-like” approach.
She then described the alleged assault to court, saying she felt “pressure, jabbing and digging” in her vagina.
“I have to assume it was Dr. Ukabam,” she said when asked if she could say for certain the cause of the pain.
“It’s so foggy,” she said, referencing the effects of the sedation.
She would go on to report the incident to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan and police.
The woman told court the incident has impacted her relationships and severely eroded her trust in the medical field.
Her medical records were entered as evidence.
During cross examination, the complainant said the then-doctor was someone she trusted thanks to Ukabam’s accurate diagnosis of a condition she has, made prior to the allegations. She continued on to say those feelings of trust are balanced with the feelings of what she experienced during her colonoscopy.
The Defence also called exactly what the complainant was able to recall about the specifics of the procedure into question, given the effects of her sedation and whether or not it was actually inappropriate, leading to a tense exchange.
“Are you trying to suggest I’m mistaken?” asked the complainant.
“I certainly am, very much so,” said defence lawyer Aaron Fox.
“If the dentist went to extract a tooth and they jammed their finger up your nose, do you think you’d get those two mixed up?” she replied.
“If I were under (inaudible) and fentanyl, I might,” Fox said.
“I don’t think so,” she replied.
One final question from the defence closed the first day of the trial by asking the complainant if Ukabam being a man of colour influenced her thought something inappropriate occurred. She replied it had no bearing and reiterated she did hold him in a high regard.
More complainants are expected to take the stand in the coming days. The trial is expected to continue for weeks.