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The Straits Times
Friday, Dec 9, 2016
A senior executive with Bloomberg was acquitted on Friday (Dec 9) of molesting his former Filipino maid after an 11-day trial.
Indian national Nitin Jaiswal, 44, had claimed trial to using criminal force on his 43-year-old domestic worker by kissing her on the lips and touching her breast at his Tanjong Rhu Road condominium at about 8am on Feb 18, 2015.
District Judge Salina Ishak found inconsistencies and gaps in both the prosecution and defence case. Ultimately, in a criminal case, she said the burden is always on the prosecution to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
She said she did not find the alleged victim's evidence to be "unusually convincing" in view of the internal as well as external inconsistencies in her testimony.
She agreed with the defence that material aspects of the prosecution's case were contradicted by what the maid had told others.
She said while she was not fully convinced that Mr Jaiswal was wholly truthful and that his case should be preferred over that of the prosecution's, what mattered was that ample doubt, which had crossed the threshold of "reasonable doubt", had been raised.
In clearing Mr Jaiswal, she said she was not satisfied that the prosecution had proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt in respect of each and every element of the charge.
The court heard that Mr Jaiswal returned to Singapore from Mumbai, India, early that day and was flying off to Melbourne, Australia, the same day to join his wife and two children.
He took a taxi home. The maid, who had been working for the family for three years, was alone. She served him tea in the living room.
The maid alleged that Mr Jaiswal molested her after she had given him a massage. She told a neighbour about the incident before the family's return from Australia. She also told Mr Jaiswal's wife one day after the family returned home on Feb 24 that year.
The maid left the apartment three days later with her passport and work permit while the family was not at home. She lodged a police report on Feb 28, stating that she had been molested.
The defence case was that the maid had made false allegations against Mr Jaiswal as money was her motivation.
She had been given her advance salary of $1,100 before the family left for Australia. The defence asserted that she had planned to extract more money from him with this allegation.
After the acquittal, Mr Jaiswal's lawyer Christopher de Souza told reporters that his client, his wife and family were fully vindicated.
"The company has stood by him, and he is very grateful. We are obviously grateful to the honourable court," he said.