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The Straits Times
May 24, 2023
A man who molested a female former classmate in July 2022 was posted to a police division three months later to serve his national service.
Instead of reporting for duty, the full-time national serviceman (NSF) forged multiple medical certificates (MCs) and went absent without leave.
The 20-year-old offender, who cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the victim’s identity, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count each of molestation, forgery and an offence under the Police Force Act.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Yvonne Poon said: “Investigations revealed that the accused had avoided going to work as he felt ashamed about the ongoing investigations into his sexual offences, and he just wanted to stay at home.”
The man and the 21-year-old victim were secondary school classmates from 2015 to 2018. They grew closer in September 2021 when they reconnected through social media.
DPP Poon said: “The victim regarded him as one of her best friends and confided in him about everything from her work to her dates with people she got to know from social media and dating applications. Their friendship was purely platonic, and both were aware of that.”
On July 17, 2022, they went to a friend’s home to spend the night. The offender was resting beside the woman, who was then asleep, when he touched her private parts. Shocked, she woke up.
She refused to speak to him and wrapped a blanket around herself. She also turned to face away from him as she used her mobile phone to book a ride home.
She later told a male acquaintance about what had happened, and he alerted the police at around 6am the next day. The offender was arrested soon after.
Court documents did not disclose what happened next, but he was posted to a police division on Oct 21, 2022, and was supposed to report there to serve his national service.
DPP Poon said that his supervisor was aware that the man was then undergoing investigations over his offences. But from the date of his posting, the offender often claimed to be unwell and reported for work only sporadically.
He did not comply when his supervisor asked him to hand over his MCs.
The supervisor went to the offender’s home on Feb 22, 2023, to retrieve the MCs, but realised that the documents did not cover multiple days that month.
The offender claimed that he had accidentally thrown away the physical copies of the MCs.
On Feb 28, he used WhatsApp to forward MCs to the supervisor, who realised that the dates had been amended on multiple MCs.
On Wednesday, the court called for reports to assess the offender’s suitability for both probation and reformative training.
Young offenders given reformative training are detained in a centre to follow a strict regimen that can include foot drills and counselling.
His case has been adjourned to June 19 and The Straits Times has contacted the police for comment.