A 67 man, who was a former director of a statutory board has been convicted of outraging the modesty of an ex-colleague and sentenced to a jail term of six weeks by District Court Judge, John Ng.
The man, who cannot be named —a result of a gag order that has been put in place to protect the identity of the 55-year-old victim, had committed his crime in 2016, using the pretext of having had his employment contract extended to hug the woman tightly such that her chest was pressed against his body.
An earlier trial for the offender had acquitted the man of five other charges of molesting another woman, a 43-year-old former colleague, as his guilt could not be established beyond a reasonable doubt as there were no third-party witnesses. The woman had also given inconsistent police statements and provided inadequate explanations.
In giving the man a custodial sentence, Judge Ng had said that while the offence was on the “low side” with no skin-on-skin contact, the circumstances of the offence still required a jail term to show that such offences committed by a male supervisor on a female subordinate in an office environment are unacceptable. However, Judge Ng said that while a jail term was indeed warranted, it would not be as substantial as the nine months asked for by the prosecution.
For outraging a person’s modesty, the man could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, or both. In this case, the offender cannot be caned as he is over the age of 50.
The prosecutors had called the man’s misconduct an “egregious abuse of trust causing significant psychological harm to the victim, who was the offender’s immediate subordinate“.
“The present offence involves a senior public servant abusing his authority in the course of his duty in a key public institution. There is clear public interest surrounding this case, and the present offence attracts public disquiet given the high standards public servants are held to”
The 55-year-old woman had testified that she was extremely fearful of the offender and had initially chosen not to disclose the matter as she was worried that her job would be in jeopardy. She was also afraid that no one would believe her.
The man’s lawyers, Drew & Napier have indicated that they intend to appeal the man’s conviction and sentence.