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Groomsman allegedly molested, sexually assaulted friend’s wife on wedding night in hotel suite

SINGAPORE — What was meant to be a newlywed couple’s wedding night turned sour, after the bride accused her husband’s close friend and groomsman of molesting her.

Groomsman allegedly molested, sexually assaulted friend’s wife on wedding night in hotel suite

The court heard that the groomsman and the accused were long-time friends.

SINGAPORE — What was meant to be a newlywed couple’s wedding night turned sour, after the bride accused her husband’s close friend and groomsman of molesting her.

The friend — who is now standing trial for allegedly violating her sexually that morning in the hotel wedding suite — claimed through his lawyer that he thought the alleged victim was his own wife and that he was sleeping next to her at home.

The accused man, now aged 40, is contesting two charges of fondling the 37-year-old woman’s breast beneath her nightgown and sexually assaulting her.

None of them can be named due to a court order to protect her identity. The media is not allowed to state the hotel’s name or the exact date they got married in 2016.

On Tuesday (March 24), the alleged victim’s husband took the witness stand for the first time as the trial went into its second day. His wife had testified behind closed doors on Monday and Tuesday morning.

Under questioning by the prosecution and the man’s lawyer Edmond Pereira, the husband gave evidence of his relationship with his friend and how events unfolded that night.

The married couple are undergoing divorce proceedings, which began earlier this year.

DRINKING DURING BANQUET AND IN ROOM

The two men were colleagues and close friends for about eight years before the wedding day, the husband testified. The pair frequently had meals and drinking sessions at various bars, along with other friends.

The accused had a high alcohol tolerance and only occasionally drank until he passed out, the husband said.

During the wedding banquet that evening, part of the accused’s job was to “help” the husband to drink alcohol when guests gave them toasts, so that the husband would not get too drunk.

He testified that after the banquet was over, several of the 10 groomsmen, including the accused, as well as some of the bridesmaids took the leftover alcohol to the wedding suite and continued drinking there.

The bride did not join in but went to sleep instead, her husband told the court. He decided to drink with the others as they were his guests and he could not “possibly just leave them there”.

He said that the accused “gradually” became intoxicated and eventually lost consciousness, slumping on a sofa and falling asleep. Some of them, including the husband, tried to rouse him but were unsuccessful.

As he was more heavyset at the time, they could not physically move him and left him there.

"I was also pretty drunk then, so I slept on the two-seater sofa beside the one he was sleeping on,” the husband said.

After some time, he was awakened by his wife shaking him and telling him that his friend had molested her, he told the court.

“I asked her what she meant by that. She told me that he went into the bedroom, stood beside her and molested her by touching the upper and lower part of her body,” he added.

In an agitated state, he looked for his friend in the bedroom and saw him standing near the bed topless. When he asked what had happened, the other man said he had touched her on the upper part of her body, the husband testified.

“After that, he apologised. He said that he was sorry and hugged me. I pushed him away and there was some other commotion… shortly afterwards, I chased him out of the room because I was angry and I didn’t want to see him there.”

‘I AM NOT ANGRY’

When questioned by prosecutors about the accused’s demeanour and state of mind, the husband replied that they could “communicate intelligently” and that the accused was able to walk properly.

While he was angry at the accused, the husband said that he did not assault him as they were friends. His wife also did not react aggressively and the couple had a “minor” quarrel after the accused left the room, before they decided to leave the hotel and made a police report at the Police Cantonment Complex.

During cross-examination, Mr Pereira asserted to the husband that it was the accused, not the alleged victim, who had woken him up and apologised for touching her.

“He said he thought he was sleeping at home and touched her breast… I’m instructed that you told her to keep quiet, then turned to (the accused) and said, ‘You go back, I will settle with her’ in Mandarin,” the lawyer added.

The husband said that he did not recall any claims of his friend thinking that he was with his own wife.

Towards the end of his testimony, Second Principal District Judge Victor Yeo asked the husband how he would describe his relationship with the accused now.

The husband replied that they were not on talking terms, partly because the investigation officer had told them not to contact each other.

However, they had met once at an industrial canteen near his workplace and chatted for about two minutes. “I told him I am not angry. What has happened already happened,” the husband told the court.

The trial continues on Wednesday, with one of the bridesmaids taking the stand.

If convicted of molestation, the groomsman could be jailed up to two years, fined, caned, or any combination of the three.

If convicted of sexual assault by penetration, he could be jailed up to 20 years and fined or caned.

Related topics

court crime sexual assault molest wedding bride

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