CEO in sex assault case

Bail revoked as offender is deemed flight risk

Foreign national awaits sentencing after being found guilty of sexually assaulting boy

A 48-year-old chief executive convicted yesterday of sexually assaulting his son's nine-year-old classmate was remanded into custody while awaiting sentencing because he was deemed to be a flight risk.

The foreign national had his bail of $60,000 revoked after the High Court found him guilty of committing the abuse during a sleepover after a Halloween party in 2015.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Christina Koh argued that the man was a flight risk as his wife and three sons had returned home. She also highlighted that the couple had assets amounting to US$3 million (S$4.1 million). If he were to abscond, he could afford to live comfortably and compensate his bailor, she said.

The man faces more than eight years' jail and at least 24 strokes of the cane for two counts of sexual assault by penetration of a minor and one count of aggravated molestation.

The court denied the prosecution's request to lift an existing gag order on the man's identity. Justice See Kee Oon said the risk remains that the man's name could lead to the identification of the victim, now 12 years old.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lai argued that the possibility of identifying the victim was small as many other children had had sleepovers at the man's house.

Defence lawyer Selva K. Naidu, who wanted the gag order to remain, noted that the sons of the convicted man still kept in contact with their school friends. The lawyer added that the man had an unusual surname and his sons had more than 1,200 Instagram followers between them.

The victim was a classmate of the youngest son. He was one of the children who were invited to the home of the accused for a trick-or-treat party, followed by a sleepover.

He slept on the upper deck of a bunk bed while the son slept on the lower deck.

The victim testified that the accused entered the room at night, stepped on the lower bunk and touched his genitals.

After the man performed oral sex on him twice, the boy packed his belongings and asked to leave.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Christina Koh argued that the man was a flight risk as his wife and three sons had returned home. She also highlighted that the couple had assets amounting to $4.1 million. If he were to abscond, he could afford to live comfortably and compensate his bailor, she said.

When his father came to pick him up, the boy told him what the accused had done to him.

Justice See, in finding the man guilty, noted that prior to the offences, the boy bore no animosity towards the man and had no reason to falsely incriminate him. In fact, the boy, who had stayed over on two previous occasions, thought of him as "nice, funny and trustworthy". The judge found the boy to be a frank witness, whose testimony withstood vigorous cross-examination.

On the other hand, Justice See was not convinced by the man's "strained" defence, which was largely premised on "afterthoughts and conjecture" and efforts to undermine the boy's credibility.

Sentencing was adjourned to Friday. The man's lawyer indicated that he would be appealing against the conviction. Separately, he also faces charges of sexually abusing an eight-year-old boy in 2011.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2018, with the headline 'Bail revoked as offender is deemed flight risk'. Print Edition | Subscribe