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Jail, caning for co-founder of food chain Beef Bro for sexually assaulting sister’s drunk friend

SINGAPORE — A 26-year-old co-founder of halal food eatery Beef Bro was sentenced to nine years, nine months and four weeks' jail and eight strokes of the cane on Friday (Aug 5) after he was convicted of molesting and sexually assaulting his sister's friend. 

Norvan Tan En Jie in a file photo taken outside the Supreme Court in September 2020.

Norvan Tan En Jie in a file photo taken outside the Supreme Court in September 2020.

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  • Norvan Tan En Jie, 26, was sentenced to nine years and 10 months' jail and eight strokes of the cane on Aug 5
  • He was found guilty last month after he contested four charges of sexual assault and molestation against his sister's friend
  • The offences were committed in 2016, when his sister took her friend home after a night of drinking
  • Tan intends to appeal against the conviction and sentence

SINGAPORE — A 26-year-old co-founder of halal food eatery Beef Bro was sentenced to nine years, nine months and four weeks' jail and eight strokes of the cane on Friday (Aug 5) after he was convicted of molesting and sexually assaulting his sister's friend. 

Norvan Tan En Jie, however, intends to appeal against both the conviction and sentence, his lawyer Amarit Singh told the High Court.

Tan was found guilty last month after he contested four charges of sexual assault and molestation against the girl, who was 19 at the time and cannot be named due to a court order to protect her identity.

He was accused of committing the offences in the early hours of Dec 26, 2016. 

The girl had been out drinking on the evening of Christmas Day with Tan’s sister and other friends before going to the Tans’ flat to sleep.

Tan was offered bail of S$95,000 on Friday, pending his appeal.

Justice Ang Cheng Hock earlier found that Tan had sexually assaulted the victim on the living room sofa, his sister’s room and in the toilet that night.

Semen found on the T-shirt that the victim was wearing during the assault also matched Tan's DNA. 

The defence argued that the semen could have been transferred from the surfaces of the toilet or wall, or from other clothes in the laundry basket where the T-shirt was seized by the police. But Justice Ang found this to be unconvincing.

Tan was 21 at the time.

The judge also found that Tan’s account of the event in his oral evidence during the trial was a “concocted” afterthought.

On Friday, the prosecution sought 10 years and five months’ jail and eight strokes of the cane.

Deputy Public Prosecutors (DPPs) Ng Yi Wen and Niranjan Ranjakunalan said that Tan had committed the offences while the victim was drunk and vulnerable.

She was so intoxicated that she vomited repeatedly, fell down twice when she was supported out of the toilet by Tan and did not have the strength to resist or say anything when Tan sexually assaulted her.

“It is also clear that (Tan), fully cognisant of how intoxicated (the victim) was, deliberately exploited that vulnerability to satiate his perverse sexual desires,” they said.

It is also clear that (Tan), fully cognisant of how intoxicated (the victim) was, deliberately exploited that vulnerability to satiate his perverse sexual desires.
Deputy Public Prosecutors Ng Yi Wen and Niranjan Ranjakunalan

They added that Tan failed to use a condom when he sexually assaulted her, which has been ruled by judges in past cases to be an aggravating factor during sentencing because it exposes the victim to the risk of sexually transmitted disease.

In mitigation, Mr Singh submitted to the court letters from Tan’s family, including his parents, aunt, sister as well as from Tan himself.

Justice Ang questioned Mr Singh if he understood that testimonials saying that Tan was “kind-hearted” or an “aspiring” entrepreneur are not mitigating factors that the court can take into account during sentencing.

In reply, Mr Singh said: “It is just so that Your Honour understands where he had come from and what he had achieved in life.”

Justice Ang agreed with the prosecution that the victim being drunk and Tan not wearing a condom were aggravating factors that warranted a heavier sentence.

He increased Tan’s bail amount to S$95,000 from S$75,000, after the prosecution applied for a higher level of bail given that Tan has now been sentenced and that he was, on his own account, a “successful entrepreneur”.

However, the judge denied the prosecution’s request for Tan to be given an electronic tag to prevent him from fleeing the country after Mr Singh said that Tan’s passport has already been impounded.

For sexual assault by penetration, Tan could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned.

Those convicted of molestation can be jailed for up to two years, fined, caned, or receive any combination of the three punishments.

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crime court sexual assault molest Beef Bro

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