Ex-Grab driver acquitted of attempting to rape 19-year-old passenger

·Editorial Team
·2-min read
People walk across a bridge near the Supreme Court (R) in Singapore on November 9, 2021. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
People walk across a bridge near the Supreme Court. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – A former Grab driver was acquitted of the charge of attempting to rape and sexually assault a drunk 19-year-old passenger in 2018.

Tan Yew Sin, 48, had claimed trial to one count each of digital penetration, attempted rape, and outrage of modesty.

The married father of three was accused of committing these acts on the alleged victim in the early hours of 19 May 2018 after driving the woman from Wildseed Bar at Seletar Aerospace Park to her home.

In his ruling in the High Court on Wednesday (27 April), Justice Pang Khang Chau found that the girl, though intoxicated, had the capacity for consent and demonstrated this in her behaviour throughout the night, according to TODAY and CNA reports.

He noted that the alleged victim had shown such a capacity at several points during the night, as she had rejected her friend’s offer at the bar to drive her home.

Even if the woman was not able to consent, Tan could reasonably have been mistaken that she was able to, the judge said, according to the reports.

The woman had drunk five glasses of beer throughout the evening before at the bar with her friends. Tan drove her to her condominium, where he proceeded to engage in sexual acts with her.

He later drove the woman to a more secluded area and tried to engage in sexual acts with her again in the back seat.

An Institute of Mental Health (IMH) medical report showed that the woman’s blood alcohol content ranged from 132.2 to 155.9mg per 100ml of blood, at 3am on the date of the incident. A senior IMH testified that the victim was significantly intoxicated and incapable of giving consent at the time.

Tan’s DNA was found on the inside of the woman’s bra cup, while his underwear also tested positive for semen and was found to have the woman’s DNA.

During his trial, Tan admitted that he did not ask the victim for consent to the sexual acts, nor had she verbally consented. He argued that he had believed in good faith that the woman consented to the sexual acts in question.

"It is also significant that his account is corroborated by the audio recordings from the in-car camera," said Justice Pang, adding that the woman had responded "appropriately and relevantly" to Tan's questions and suggestions as well as to her surroundings.

If found guilty of attempted rape or sexual assault by penetration, Tan could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned.

For outrage of modesty, he could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, caned, or given any combination of these punishments, upon conviction.

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