SINGAPORE — A 72-year-old Singaporean man was on Wednesday (Oct 4) convicted after claiming trial for molesting a 16-year-old girl.
Nahrawi Dahi committed the offence last year when boarding a public bus from which the teenager was about to alight. He was reported to have grabbed her chest.
The victim’s name cannot be published due to a court order to protect her identity.
Court documents showed that the girl had boarded bus service number 43 on March 26 last year sometime around noon.
Nahrawi boarded the bus later at about 12.25pm near Exit D of Paya Lebar MRT Station.
An “incident” occurred between Nahrawi and the girl as he was getting onto the vehicle from the bus stop, court documents stated.
This incident refers to the molest charge that the victim had filed and he had contested.
The girl alighted from the vehicle at that same bus stop while Nahrawi continued with his journey.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage from the bus captured both parties’ movement in the vehicle.
However, the recordings did not capture the molest due to how both of them were positioned during the incident — with Nahrawi standing between the camera and the victim, blocking the view in the footage.
Throughout the trial, he did not deny any physical contact between him and the victim but maintained that it was accidental.
Delivering her brief remarks, District Judge Carol Ling noted that since there was no other evidence to corroborate the teenager’s accusation, her account had to be unusually convincing to prove her case beyond reasonable doubt.
District Judge Ling then said that she found the victim to be unusually convincing because she had given a “clear and logical” account of what had happened.
The judge found her to be truthful with “no tendency” to exaggerate or embellish her story, being able to describe certain details surrounding the incident but admitting when she was uncertain of others.
For example, the teenager recalled that Nahrawi had squeezed her right breast. However, she testified that she could not recall which hand Nahrawi had used to do so, which the defence had argued as affecting her credibility.
However, District Judge Ling said that it was not denied by both parties that a physical contact had occurred, regardless which hand was used in the offence.
The victim could have claimed that it was Nahrawi’s left or right hand if she had so chosen to embellish her account, but she did not, District Judge Ling added.
On the other hand, she found Nahrawi to be incoherent in his testimony in court.
She noted that he had testified that he thought the victim was “a boy, not a girl”.
He later said that he had difficulties seeing and that he had wanted to grab a pole but missed.
He also kept repeating that the touch was not on purpose whenever he was asked difficult questions during the trial, which the judge said she found “convenient”.
When the court interpreter translated the judge’s decision to Nahrawi on Wednesday, he replied to her in Malay saying “aku tak sengaja”, meaning he did not do it intentionally.
He is scheduled to appear in court in January next year for sentencing and is out on bail.
Anyone convicted with outrage of modesty can be jailed up to three years, fined or caned, or be given a combination of any of the three punishments.
Nahrawi cannot be caned by law because he is above the age of 50.