A cleaner who followed a domestic helper up a HDB block and subsequently molested her was jailed nine months and given three strokes of the cane on Wednesday (8 November).
Muzammel Md, a 33-year-old Bangladeshi national, pleaded guilty to a single count of using criminal force to molest the Indonesian woman at the block in Jelapang Road. The victim’s name cannot be revealed due to a Court-imposed gag order.
According to the statement of facts, Muzammel first spotted the 35-year-old victim on the night of 26 May 2016 in the vicinity of his workplace, which is where the woman also resided.
She had gone to post a letter at a mailbox near her flat when Muzammel approached her and expressed his desire to befriend her. He then asked for her phone number but the victim, who was unwilling to do so, told Muzammel that she did not have a mobile phone.
While making her way back to her the lift lobby of her block, the woman noticed that Muzammel was following her. She did not enter the lift as she was afraid Muzammel would follow her in and decided to take the stairs instead. However, she did not notice that Muzammel had continued to follow her.
Upon reaching the third-floor landing, the woman decided take the lift as she thought Muzammel had left. As she entered the lift, Muzammel rushed in, held the woman’s right hand against the lift wall, and grabbed the her left breast over her shirt.
“The victim was scared and when the lift door opened at the fifth floor, the (woman) shouted for help and (Muzammel) ran off down the staircase,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kavita Uthrapathy.
The woman then returned to her flat and informed her employer’s son about the incident. He ran down the block to look for Muzammel and managed to apprehend the latter. The police were then called.
DPP Kavita said that there was an element of premeditation in the offence as Muzammel had persisted in following the victim before restraining her. Muzammel, who was not represented, said he was remorseful and pleaded for a lighter sentence.
For using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a woman, Muzammel could have been jailed up to two years, fined and/or caned.
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