Jail, cane for man who molested home nurse

She was hired to care for his mother; he also sent the Filipina lewd text messages

A 26-year-old home-care nurse started receiving lewd text messages from the son of her elderly patient just a day after she started working at the family's Bukit Purmei flat in January 2014.

Four days later, the 41-year-old maritime boarding officer, who was engaged to be married, kissed the back of her neck while they were in the lift. The following morning, he touched her breast while she was helping his mother to her room. That same afternoon, he tapped her buttock.

The Filipina was initially hesitant about reporting the incidents as she was worried about losing her job. But after receiving a particularly offensive message from the man, which made her feel "degraded", she told her superiors and lodged a police report.

Yesterday, Balakrishnan Kuppusamy, now 43 and married, was sentenced to a year's jail and three strokes of the cane by the High Court, which convicted him on three charges of molesting the nurse - for kissing her neck, for rubbing her chest and for tapping her buttock.

Balakrishnan, who denied touching the woman inappropriately, had initially been acquitted of rubbing her chest - the most serious of the three charges.

In November last year, he was sentenced by a District Court to two months' jail for kissing her neck and a $5,000 fine for tapping her buttock.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Soo Tet appealed to the High Court against the acquittal and the fine, while Balakrishnan appealed against his conviction on the two charges.

Allowing the prosecution's appeal, Judge of Appeal Tay Yong Kwang said Balakrishnan's testimony in court had to be contrasted against his earliest police statement, in which he had denied physical contact except tapping her arm to get her attention.

In court, Balakrishnan said he had touched the woman's neck with his fingers while making kissing sounds.

He said he had "poked" the victim's chest because he was irritated with her for speaking in Tagalog, and had tapped the back of her waist to get her to move away as she was blocking the entrance to the toilet.

Justice Tay said Balakrishnan's "flirtatious and sometimes crude" messages to the woman showed his lewd intentions towards her.

Balakrishnan's appeal was dismissed.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2016, with the headline 'Jail, cane for man who molested home nurse'. Print Edition | Subscribe