Yoga instructor who allegedly touched and squeezed student's chest appeals against sentence

Rakesh Kumar Prasad, 26, appealed against his sentence at the apex court yesterday (Oct 1) even as public prosecutors are pushing for a higher sentence for him in the High Court.

He was sentenced to jail and fined $1,000 in April this year after a district judge found him guilty of molesting and using criminal force on his student during a class at Real Yoga studio in Tampines between 12.40pm and 1.15pm on April 26, 2015.

According to The Straits Times, his defence counsel Steven Lam said there was still reasonable doubt that Rakesh had molested his student.

Mr Lam said there were inconsistent points in the victim's accounts, and closed-circuit television (CCTV) recordings could not show for certain that Rakesh had groped the woman, who was 25 years old at the time of the incident.

When Rakesh was in the room, he was said to have touched the woman's chest, squeezed it and tried to slip his hands under her shirt to feel her chest. 

However, Mr Lam said that from CCTV recordings, Rakesh's hands seemed to have been facing downwards while helping her in her pose, instead of upwards on her chest.

As Rakesh, who is from India, knew of the CCTV camera and was aware that others were in the vicinity, "the question is why would he want to do something so silly, bearing in mind that he is here on an employment pass?" said Mr Lam.

Mr Lam also alleged that the woman was looking for a refund, but did not receive one which was why she filed a police report.

This point was disputed by Deputy Public Prosecutor James Chew, who called the allegation "completely baseless and highly insulting to the victim".

He noted that the victim was a regular student who had already pre-booked classes prior to that incident.

Mr Chew further noted that the district judge had already seen the recordings multiple times, and was correct in not drawing any inference from the recording on the direction of Rakesh's hands. 

He also called for a heavier sentence of at least 12 months' jail and three strokes of the cane, citing aggravating factors such as the high degree of sexual exploitation.

He said that even after the victim protested, Rakesh proceeded to violate her again and again, each time escalating in severity.

Mr Chew said Rakesh's acts were "exceptionally brazen, persistent and aggressive, and need to be deterred".

The results of the hearing will be out on Oct 12.

Read the full story at The Straits Times.

The Straits Times

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.

More About: