A Certis Cisco officer who molested a colleague by hugging her from behind, touching her breast and kissing her lips in Changi Airport Terminal 3 while off duty was jailed 30 weeks on Friday (3 November).
The 24-year-old Malaysian national, who cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the victim’s identity, had claimed trial and was found guilty on Tuesday (31 October) of one charge of using criminal force with the intention to outrage the modesty of a person.
The incident happened on 28 August last year. It is unclear if the man is still with Certis Cisco. The man and the victim, who is in her early 20s, first got acquainted with each other a month before the incident. Both were Auxiliary Police Officers with Certis Cisco.
The two regularly met for lunch and during other break times, and would communicate and share problems with each other, according to the prosecution. There would usually be no body contact between them except a “special handshake” as a greeting.
A few days before the incident, the man told her that he would be bringing her to a “beautiful place” in Basement 2 of the terminal, which has a waterfall.
On the day of the incident, he messaged her to meet at the armoury after their shift ended and addressed her as “sayang” and “dear”. He also told her not to wear a uniform underneath her jacket, but she did not follow his instructions. Instead, she zipped her jacket up to the collarbone to hide her uniform.
Upon reaching the waterfall sometime after 9pm, he held her hand while they were climbing the stairs. When the woman asked him why, he replied that he was afraid she might fall. He then shared with her his relationship problems.
While doing so, he told her to remove her bag from her shoulders as it was heavy. He then locked his arms over her shoulders from behind and told her “don’t move, don’t move” in a tone she described to the court as “ferocious”. The woman tried to move but couldn’t do so as he was too strong for her, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Chew Xin Ying in her closing submissions for the case.
The man then kissed her neck, and placed his right hand under her jacket, uniform and bra to cup her left breast. She also felt his fingers touching her nipple area. The victim then confronted him and told him off for behaving “very cheaply”.
The man then pushed her against a wall and tried touching her again. She responded by crossing her arms across her chest. He then kissed her neck, cheeks, and eventually her lips after placing his hands on her palms.
The victim moved away immediately and the man begged her not to tell anyone about the incident. When the victim started crying, he asked why she was making such a big fuss and said “it’s not as if you lost your virginity”, according to the DPP. The victim responded by slapping him before leaving.
The accused continued apologising to the woman through messages sent to her phone, but she ignored him. Upon reaching home, the woman attempted suicide but was prevented from doing so by her roommate. She also harboured thoughts of shooting herself.
The matter came to light when the victim was convinced by her fiance to report the matter. She informed her supervisors about the incident before lodging a police report.
The prosecution asked the court to impose a nine-month jail sentence on the man. During the trial, the man had said that any touch of the woman’s breast was “accidental” when she moved or pushed him away. He also claimed that they held hands whenever they took a bus or walked together. He also alleged that the woman had made advances towards him and conjured a false accusation against him.
In sentencing the man, District Judge Lorraine Ho said that it was “not uncommon for friends to have physical contact while joking or bantering with each other”, and that lines may be “blurred” when two persons become good friends.
“However, therein lies the problem when one party misreads the other party’s intentions …Unfortunately, this appeared to be the case in the present situation,” said DJ Ho.
“A gentleman must always be chivalrous in such a situation. He should never assume that his female companion has consented to go further unless she explicitly says so. If there is any indication of resistance or sign that the other party is unsure, one should never proceed to assume that the other party is willing,” she added.
DJ Ho also said that the man showed “an utter lack of remorse” through “self-serving and disingenuous attempt at saving his own skin by justifying his actions with inconsistent evidence”.
For outraging a woman’s modesty, the man could have been jailed up to two years and/or fined, and/or caned.