SMU student who molested woman in overnight study session fails in appeal

SINGAPORE: A High Court decide on Friday (May 20) dismissed the appeal of a Singapore Management University (SMU) student convicted of molesting a woman throughout an overnight study session.

Justice Chua Lee Ming rejected the defence’s arguments that the person believed the sufferer had given her consent primarily based on what occurred earlier that night time and throughout the act itself.

Lee Yan Ru, 25, was sentenced to 10 months’ jail and three strokes of the cane final yr after being discovered responsible of utilizing legal drive to outrage the modesty of the woman.

He had contested the cost at trial, throughout which he argued that the sufferer consented to the act and the defence accused her of mendacity.

The identification of the woman, now 23, is protected by gag order.

Lee and the sufferer, who grew to become acquainted on Instagram, agreed to satisfy up at SMU in the early hours of Jan 8, 2019.

Throughout the night time, Lee repeatedly made advances on the sufferer, who was not a student at the college.

After watching a film and taking a number of smoke breaks on campus, the pair lay right down to sleep in separate components of the study room.

The woman was woken up by Lee kneeling over her physique and rubbing his non-public components on her chest.

Lee’s lawyer Thong Chee Kun argued that his consumer believed he had consent primarily based on “a series of acts of growing intimacy” that night time, and the woman’s response throughout the act itself.

He argued that by the point the act happened, Lee had touched the sufferer’s chest twice and put his non-public components on her thigh, and believed that he had her consent for these actions.

Later, throughout the act itself, the sufferer informed Lee to cease and Lee mentioned “awhile more”. The sufferer, who was “not restrained”, saved nonetheless and didn’t say the rest, mentioned Mr Thong.

Lee due to this fact believed he had communicated his want to proceed and the sufferer had consented throughout this trade, argued the lawyer.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Andre Chong countered that this was totally different from the defence’s place at trial, the place the defence argued that Lee took “stop” to imply “carry on”.

He argued that the premise on which Lee claimed to imagine he had the sufferer’s consent was “factually flawed”, as Lee and the sufferer gave totally different accounts of how she reacted when he groped her breast.

The actions earlier than the act of molestation didn’t give rise to any “blanket consent”, mentioned the prosecutor.

During the defence’s arguments, Justice Chua questioned Mr Thong about a number of incidents that he mentioned indicated Lee “knew the sum of his advances were being rejected by her”.

He discovered that the sufferer’s reactions to Lee’s advances, which escalated in bodily and sexual intimacy all through the night time, confirmed that she didn’t consent to these actions.

These included her prying his fingers off when he groped her breast and, after Lee put his non-public half on her thigh, asking him to take her for a smoke break so they might depart the study room, mentioned the decide.

He additionally discovered that Lee’s personal testimony and police assertion confirmed it was clear to Lee that the sufferer discovered his actions “unacceptable, to say the least”.

“In light of the above, I cannot see how the appellant could possibly have believed that the complainant consented to him rubbing his (private parts) across her chest,” mentioned the decide.

Upholding each the sentence and conviction, the decide additionally mentioned it was clear that the sufferer expressed disagreement throughout the act itself, and that Lee understood her rejection.

“The truth is, as the appellant admitted in his statement to the police, he ‘just (wanted) to release’, it ‘was a moment of lust’ and he was ‘purely thinking with (his) private part’,” mentioned Justice Chua.

Lee stays suspended by SMU, his lawyer informed the court docket.

He will begin serving his sentence in every week after the decide granted him a deferral to settle issues associated to his research.

SMU student who molested woman in overnight study session fails in appeal

Davina Tham

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