Groomsman molested and sexually assaulted friend's bride after wedding dinner

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
May 30, 2022

A couple's wedding dinner turned from a joyous occasion into a nightmare just hours later when the bride was molested by a groomsman while she was sleeping in a bridal suite.

The man, now 42, also sexually penetrated the woman in the suite's dark bedroom.

After a trial, Principal District Judge Victor Yeo on Monday (May 30) convicted the man of one count each of molestation and sexually penetrating the woman without her consent.

The offender, who was the groom's friend, cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the victim's identity.

The couple have since divorced, but the reason for their split was not mentioned in court on Monday.

In their submissions, deputy public prosecutors Ng Yiwen and Goh Yong Ngee said alcoholic drinks were served during the couple's wedding dinner in a downtown hotel in October 2016.

After the dinner ended at around 11pm, the couple and their bridesmaids and groomsmen continued drinking in the bridal suite.

The suite has a living room area that was partitioned off from the bedroom and toilet.

One could gain access to the bedroom from the living room by opening a sliding door.

At around 1am the next day, the bride took a shower and went to sleep in the bedroom alone while the merry-making continued in the living room.

She deliberately slept on the right side of the bed, leaving space on the left for her then-husband.

The woman later woke up and felt somebody touching her chest underneath her nightgown. She also felt someone performing a sexual act on her, the court heard.

The prosecutors said she later realised the touches were not the same as when she was intimate with her husband.

They added: "(She) then tried to take a look at the person and while she could not see the face of the person in the darkness, she could tell that the face was much bigger than her husband's.

"She then asked the person in Mandarin, 'Who are you?'. As (she) did not get a reply, she felt scared and left the room to look for (her husband)."

The prosecutors told the court that she found him sleeping on a sofa in the living room and woke him up.

The offender then came out of the bedroom and left after the woman confronted him. The groom later accompanied his wife to make a police report.

The defence, led by lawyer Edmond Pereira, said the accused had fallen asleep on a sofa in the bridal suite after the wedding dinner.

The man earlier testified that he had found himself on a bed when he woke up and had no idea how he had got there.

He also said that he thought he was home and reached over to caress the breast of the person lying beside him, thinking she was his wife. He retracted his hand when he heard moaning that did not sound like his wife's.

He also denied sexually penetrating the bride.

Before convicting the man, Judge Yeo said he had found the victim to be a credible and honest witness.

However, he did not find the accused to be credible, and found that the purported case of mistaken identity was unbelievable.

The man is due to be sentenced on July 21.

For molestation, an offender can be jailed for up to two years and fined or caned.

For sexually penetrating a person without consent, an offender can be jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned.

The Straits Times

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