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5 weeks' jail for senior flight steward who molested stewardess as she attended to passenger

SINGAPORE — A 50-year-old man was sentenced to five weeks’ jail on Monday (March 7) after he was convicted of molesting his junior cabin crew colleague by slapping her buttock.

5 weeks' jail for senior flight steward who molested stewardess as she attended to passenger
The court heard that the stewardess was attending to a passenger in the business section of the aircraft, where she was stationed, when she felt a smack on her buttock.

SINGAPORE — A 50-year-old man was sentenced to five weeks’ jail on Monday (March 7) after he was convicted of molesting his junior cabin crew colleague by slapping her buttock.

The Singaporean steward, who was the highest-ranked cabin crew member on board then, cannot be named due to a court order to protect the identity of the stewardess who reported directly to him.

She is now aged 27.

The offence took place on a flight from Singapore to Manila in the Philippines on May 3, 2019.

The name of the airline was similarly removed from court documents, which did not state if the man is still employed by the company.

The man told the court through his lawyer, Mr Sunil Sudheesan, that he will lodge an appeal against his conviction and sentence. He still faces another charge of molesting another woman on an earlier flight from Singapore to the Netherlands on Nov 26, 2018.

He was found guilty in January after claiming trial to a single charge of molesting the victim.

During the trial, the court heard that the accused had slapped the victim’s right buttock while she was talking to a passenger in business class where she was stationed.

The victim testified in court that while the passenger was showing her an item he wanted to buy from an in-flight magazine, she felt a “smack” on her buttock and she “jolted up”. She described it as so due to the “severity of the contact”, which was “hard and surprising”.

She then saw the accused walking past her. He stopped, turned to look at her and told her something along the lines of: “Don’t stand like this.”

She testified that he said this in a cheeky or playful manner, before continuing to walk towards the front of the cabin.

Sometime later, on the flight back to Singapore, she told the flight captain who called for a meeting in the cockpit. The accused apologised and said it was not his intention “to do it”.

He eventually confessed to hitting her buttock but provided no defence for it. He uttered words to the effect of: “I swear on my mother’s name and (a religious text) that this is my first time.”

When they returned to Singapore, the victim lodged a police report.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Wei Liang sought six to eight weeks of imprisonment, noting that the victim was “clearly distressed” by her supervisor’s actions. This led to her being redeployed to the economy class on the return flight.

The prosecutor argued that the accused demonstrated “a patent lack of remorse by suggesting in the course of the trial, through (his lawyer), that the victim had embellished or exaggerated her evidence against him”.

For molestation under the Penal Code, read with the Tokyo Convention Act, he could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, caned, or given any combination of the three.

Under the Tokyo Convention Act, if a crime takes place on a Singapore-controlled aircraft flying outside of the country, the offender can be charged with the offence under Singapore laws.

Related topics

court crime molest molestation airplane flight steward flight attendant

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