Explainer: Why was a former Grab driver acquitted of sexually assaulting his 19-year-old passenger?
The acquittal on Wednesday (April 27) of a 48-year-old former Grab driver accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old passenger has attracted considerable public interest over aspects such as the large age gap between them and the point that the woman was intoxicated at the time.
TODAY spoke to lawyers to break down the judgement, and explored the reasons set out by Justice Pang for Mr Tan’s acquittal.
Experts explained that that at the end of a trial, if the judge renders a verdict that the charges have not been proved by the prosecution, then the result is an acquittal, where the accused is found to be not guilty.
Law lecturer Alexander Woon from the Singapore University of Social Sciences said that this means the judge has found that the charges levelled against the accused were not proven beyond reasonable doubt.
“It does not mean that the judge believed one side or the other," Mr Woon added.
An acquittal differs from a discharge not amounting to an acquittal, which usually happens when the prosecution withdraws the charge before the judge delivers a verdict, Mr Woon said.
In the case of an acquittal, such as in Mr Tan’s case, the accused cannot be taken back to court unless the prosecution appeals against the acquittal.