A Norwegian man who fondled a woman at Clarke Quay last August was sentenced to one year’s jail and three strokes of the cane on Friday (25 May).
Gregersen Tommy, 49, had pleaded guilty at the State Courts on 18 May to molesting the inebriated 24-year-old woman. She cannot be named due to a gag order imposed by the court.
According to court documents, the woman had gone out with friends to the popular nightclub Zouk on the night of 11 August last year. Prior to entering Zouk, she had already consumed some alcoholic beverages and continued to do so in the nightclub.
At about 1.50am the next day, the victim exited the club alone as she wanted to vomit. She sat on a stone bench adjacent to the G-Max Reverse Bungy at 3E River Valley Road.
Tommy, a site and commissioning manager who was in Singapore on a work trip, happened to be in the area as well. He noticed the woman sitting alone and approached her. When she vomited, he led her to another bench.
Soon after, the woman received a phone call from her cousin, who was worried about her as she had sounded incoherent on the phone earlier. Tommy took the call instead and told the cousin where they were seated.
After hanging up the call, Tommy patted the woman’s back as if to comfort her.
Seeing no reaction from her, he slipped his right hand underneath her blouse, unhooked her bra, and fondled her breast. His left hand also reached up under her skirt and past her underwear where he stroked her private parts. The victim was too tipsy to fend Tommy off.
A security guard patrolling nearby spotted the duo. He noticed that the victim’s head was facing the ground and was unresponsive even as Tommy’s left hand moved under her skirt. The woman’s cousin arrived a few minutes after that.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Marshall Lim asked the court to impose a jail sentence of at least 12 months and three strokes of the cane. Calling the facts of the case “shocking”, Lim called Tommy a “sexual predator” who had taken advantage of a vulnerable victim within minutes of meeting her.
Defense counsel K Chandra Mohan asked the court for leniency and said Tommy was medically unfit to be caned. Court documents show that he asked for a heavy fine, one month’s jail, and no caning.
In response, Lim said that a medical officer will ascertain Tommy’s health prior to the actual caning and that had no bearing on the sentencing in court. He added that Mohan’s request for leniency amounted to “a wholly inadequate sentence”, given that Tommy had committed a “vile offence”.
However, Lim recognised that by pleading guilty to the offence, Tommy had spared the victim the trauma of having to testify and recount the “vile acts” done to her.
District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan said that Tommy’s actions were “very intrusive” and agreed with the prosecution.
For outrage of modesty, Tommy could have been jailed up to two years, or fined, or caned, or any combination of the three.