15 months' jail for GrabHitch driver who molested passenger

SINGAPORE - A nightclubber fell asleep in the back of a GrabHitch car she hired to take her home - and woke to find her head was on the driver's lap.

The 22-year-old woman, who cannot be named due to a gag order, told a district court she had felt someone touching her body after nodding off.

Her driver - 30-year-old Muhammad Fauzi Salleh - was sentenced on Friday (Feb 1) to a year and three months' jail after he was convicted of one count of molestation following a 10-day trial.

District Judge Mathew Joseph found him guilty of the offence last November.

During the trial, the woman testified that she had been drinking vodka with friends at a ladies' night at Attica in Clarke Quay on July 12, 2017.

She booked a ride home to Tampines and got in Fauzi's car at around 2am the next day.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chee Ee Ling said that while the woman was dozing, she felt "someone touching her all over her body" and on reaching her destination, she realised that she was lying on Fauzi's lap.

She went home and told her friend and boyfriend what had happened.

DPP Chee said the victim was left feeling "traumatised" and "worried", while her boss noticed she appeared "tired" and "distressed" the next day.

She lodged a police report at around 4pm on July 13, 2017, and Fauzi was arrested the next day.

He later confessed to officers that he had molested the woman, but during the trial Fauzi claimed that while he was trying to wake her up, she pulled his hand and collapsed onto his left thigh.

In her submissions, the DPP added: "Significant weight should be accorded to the accused's confession to the arresting officers and his confession... which are both materially corroborative of his guilt."

Fauzi plans to appeal against the decisions and he was offered bail of $15,000.