April 13, 2024

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Ex-secondary School Basketball Coach Found Guilty of Kissing Former Student

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Ex-secondary School Basketball Coach Found Guilty of Kissing Former Student

On Tuesday (Dec. 13), a former basketball coach at a high school was found accountable for insulting a student’s modesty by kissing her lips in his car.

The 67-year-old man, who cannot be identified because of gag orders protecting the victim’s identity, was found guilty of using criminal force on the 21-year-old woman by kissing her twice on the lips while aware that it would probably offend her modesty.

The accused had refuted the allegation.

District Judge Melissa Tan outlined her justifications for convicting him on Tuesday.

The defendant was the victim’s high school basketball coach. The victim had returned to Singapore over the semester break from furthering her education while attending further coursework in Australia at the time of the offense in 2019.

The accused and the victim both went to the lunch gathering with the victim’s basketball teammates from the victim’s secondary school on February 20, 2019.

The victim discussed taking the accused’s phone to a shop for repairs because it was damaged.

The victim thanked the defendant for coming to meet the group that evening in a message to him. She expressed the hope of running into him again in a year or six months.

The accused was messaged the following day, February 21, 2019, with the victim’s availability for the afternoon.

He picked her up at Holland Village sometime after 1 o’clock that afternoon, then drove to City Plaza, where the repair shop was, in his car.

The victim and the accused stopped by a food court in the same building after visiting the store for food and beverages.

After that, sometime later that day, while the accused’s car was parked at City Plaza, the victim received two kisses on the lips from the accused.

He later took the victim on a drive to a location close to Plaza Singapura where she met a friend.

The following day, she boarded a flight for Australia, but a week later, her mother filed a police report.

Her mother claimed that while they were in his car, the accused touched the victim a few times.

According to District Judge Melissa Tan, the key question in the case was whether the defendant kissed the victim twice on the lips knowing that he would probably offend her modesty.

The victim was the primary witness for the prosecution, which called five other witnesses. The prosecution argued that the victim was an unusually credible witness and lacked any motivation to fabricate the claim.

The prosecution argued that her testimony was supported by other witnesses, phone records, and other evidence.

The accused, according to the defense, did not give the victim two on-the-lip kisses. They argued that numerous internal and external consistency issues marred the victim’s testimony.

The accused served as the only witness for the defense, and according to his attorney, his account is more thorough and materially consistent than the victims.

Victim Was Reliable, Straightforward: Judge

The victim, according to Judge Tan, was a trustworthy witness. She was unafraid to address contradictions when they were brought up during her testimony, which was direct and unreserved.

According to the judge, her account of what happened was sufficiently thorough and coherent, and the physical evidence supporting what happened before and after the two kisses was reliable.

“I find that her evidence did contain the ring of truth,” she said. “In contrast, I believe the accused to be an unreliable witness whose testimony lacked credibility.”

He was evasive, according to her. As an illustration, under cross-examination, the defendant acknowledged that he was aware that the victim’s first text message was about fixing her phone.

The accused responded that he did not know and could not remember when asked if he was aware of the phone because he had spoken to the victim on the phone.

He denied it, stating that he went to bed early every night and that if he had called her after she sent the message, his wife would have been sitting next to him.

Additionally, he claimed that while they were in his car, he had never formally asked the victim to be his goddaughter. It wasn’t necessary, in his own words.

Judge Tan ruled that this ran counter to the accused’s account in his earlier statements and refuted the defense’s claim that the accused asked the victim to be his goddaughter during the conversation in question.

In his statement, he said he had jokingly asked the victim to call him “godpa” while they were in his car.

The man claimed he had only asked in jest when confronted with the statement and questioned as to why it differed. He claimed he could not recall because it had been three and a half years when the question of whether this amounted to asking the victim to be his goddaughter was put to him.

The judge found the accused guilty of the charge after declaring herself satisfied that the prosecution’s case had been established beyond a reasonable doubt.

He has no criminal history. To discuss mitigation and sentence, the parties will go back to court in January.

Reference: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/ex-secondary-school-basketball-coach-found-guilty-kissing-former-student-3140556

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