Kissing cabby jailed two weeks after outraging passenger's modesty

A. Ashok Kumar, 54,  was sentenced to two weeks' jail for outraging a 47-year-old American woman's modesty.
A. Ashok Kumar, 54, was sentenced to two weeks' jail for outraging a 47-year-old American woman's modesty.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A taxi driver took a couple back to their home but went too far - by kissing the woman as she escorted her drunken husband into their flat.

A. Ashok Kumar, 54, left the 47-year-old American woman shocked and scared after following the couple to their front door, a court heard.

He was sentenced to two weeks on Wednesday (Jan 24) after he was found guilty of outraging the store manager's modesty. Ashok Kumar has since lost his job.

The couple had hailed his cab late on June 15, 2016, after an industry event at a bar in Circular Road.

The woman testified that after paying and thanking the cabby, she supported her intoxicated husband before he fell into some bushes outside their condominium.

As she picked him up, she suddenly realised the driver had followed her and was standing with them.

She refused to let him help but he continued to follow them.

When the lift arrived, Ashok Kumar followed the couple into it and again the woman asked him not to touch her husband.

After taking her husband into the flat she was shocked to find Ashok Kumar in front of the door.

As she went to close it, Ashok Kumar suddenly kissed her on the cheek. Shocked, she turned her head the other way but he kissed her again - this time on the mouth.

Ashok Kumar denied molesting the woman, claiming that the couple were drunk, and that it was the woman who brought her cheeks to his on both sides to thank him as he was leaving.

In passing sentence, District Judge Luke Tan said Ashok Kumar took advantage of his status as a taxi driver even though the molestation did not happen in his vehicle.

He found the driver's action not only brazen but also persistent and unrelenting.

"One is entitled to feel safe at or near one's home. You were clearly violating her access to safety," said Judge Tan.

Ashok Kumar, defended by Felicia Tan who was assigned through the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, was allowed to start his sentence on Jan 31 to settle his personal affairs. Deputy Public Prosecutor James Chew prosecuted.