SMU molest trial: Alleged victim a liar who gives 'half truths' – Defence

Wan Ting Koh
·Senior Reporter
·4-min read
Singapore Management University at 81 Victoria Street. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
Singapore Management University at 81 Victoria Street. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — A lawyer defending a Singapore Management University (SMU) undergraduate accused of molest called the alleged victim a liar who gave “half truths” about her versions of events.

“Your account (of events) is completely illogical and let me put it to you that so far, your version of the account is inherently incredible,” said Lee Yan Ru’s lawyer Thong Chee Kun on Wednesday (9 September), the second day into his cross examination of the 22-year-old woman.

“You are telling us half truths and lies,” the lawyer told the woman, who disagreed with his statement.

Lee, 24, is accused of rubbing his genitals on the woman as she lay on the floor of a study room in SMU at around 6.30am on 8 January last year.

While the woman maintained that she had rebuffed Lee’s advances leading up to the incident, Thong argued in court that the woman was actually “engaged” in “playful physical banter”, meaning that to her, all the interactions were “playful”.

“What I have put to you is really the only possible explanation because you could really have easily retaliated and gone home at any time if Yan Ru had really offended you by any inappropriate physical contact,” said the lawyer.

“I disagree. I believe I retaliated by signalling him numerous times by pushing him away and telling him to stop and go away,” the woman responded.

While in the room, Lee allegedly made multiple unwanted advances towards the woman, including hugging her, touching her breasts and attempting to kiss her. The woman maintained she had rebuffed his advances, but did not take further action for fear of offending or embarrassing Lee. She repeatedly claimed that she did not verbalise her objections as she thought her actions were enough to put him off.

Woman maintained she didn’t give consent

Thong then presented his client’s version of events to the woman suggesting that she had reacted playfully in response to Lee at times.

According to Lee, there was an exchange during which Lee playfully flicked his feet up and down her lap while seated opposite the woman in the study room. At times when his feet slipped off her lap, the woman would take his feet or foot and replace them. The woman disagreed with both statements.

Thong also suggested to the woman that when the two were under the table at one point, she giggled while Lee was groping her breasts, and that he moved his hand to rub her crotch. The woman disagreed.

During the last incident, Lee had groped the woman’s breast to wake her up, according to the lawyer, but the woman disagreed.

Thong also suggested to the woman that she had consented to Lee masturbating on top of her but the woman said, “I was sleeping so there was no action to give consent.”

The lawyer then asked, “Under these circumstances, even if you did not consent to the last incident, do you think that it is possible that Yan Ru had mistakenly believed that you would give consent?” The woman said, “No.”

“After all that I have said and done... I don’t understand why anyone would think that I may give consent,” she said.

At the end of the cross-examination, Thong submitted screenshots of a messaging app, Tellonym, where the woman answered questions about her court case a few days ago.

In response to an anonymous person asking if she was a good liar, the woman said, “Yes.”

District Judge Sharmila Sripathy found at the close of the prosecution’s arguments that a case had been made out against Lee and called upon him to give evidence.

Lee will testify in the next tranche of the trial. The dates will be fixed during a pre-trial conference on 7 October.

Yahoo News Singapore has reached out to SMU for comments.

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