Groomsman who molested and sexually assaulted friend's bride intends to appeal

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
Sept 19, 2022

What started as a joyous occasion for a bride turned into a nightmare when a groomsman molested the woman in her bridal suite after the wedding dinner.

The man, now 42, who also sexually penetrated the woman, was on Monday sentenced to seven years' jail and six strokes of the cane.

In handing down the sentence, Principal District Judge Victor Yeo noted that the acts of crime involved direct skin-to-skin contact with the victim's private parts.

He also said there was a certain level of deception as the woman had initially thought that the person touching her was her husband.

Judge Yeo had earlier 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 the split was not mentioned in court.

In their submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutors Ng Yiwen and Goh Yong Ngee said alcohol was served during the 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 bride took a shower and went to sleep in the bedroom alone while the merry-making continued in the living room.

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 soon 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.

On Monday, defence lawyer Edmond Pereira said that the offender intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence. His bail was then set at $30,000.

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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