A district judge yesterday meted out a deterrent sentence to a molester, saying people should not have a reason to be afraid to be out in public places at night.
Construction worker Chidambaram Alaguraj, now 28, was jailed for two years and three months with three strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to outraging a student's modesty.
The victim, 20, was walking home after parking her car near Bishan Park at around 2.20am on Feb 23 when Chidambaram grabbed her from behind while she was going up a flight of stairs.
He pinned her to the ground before molesting her.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Gail Wong said: "The accused, intending to outrage the victim's modesty, grabbed hold of the victim's chin with one hand and forcibly kissed her on the lips and continued to attempt to kiss her. The victim struggled to push him but the accused was too strong."
District Judge Sarah Tan said a deterrent sentence had to be meted out to prevent others from committing similar crimes.
Chidambaram had met four friends at the void deck of an Ang Mo Kio block of flats to drink beer on the evening of Feb 22.
At about 7pm, they moved to Bishan Park to fish at a pond and consume more alcohol.
Chidambaram later left the group and did not return.
A few hours later, he spotted the student and forced her to the ground.
After attempting to kiss her, Chidambaram slipped his hand under her top and molested her.
She shouted for help and he fled towards the park.
The student ran home and told her mother about her ordeal, before the police were alerted at about 2.35am.
The student had minor wounds on her right shoulder and a mild bruise on her right buttock.
Police arrested Chidambaram on Feb 25.
Lawyer A. Revi Shanker, who represented Chidambaram pro bono,said he was a first-time offender and was remorseful.
For molesting the student, he could have been jailed for between two and 10 years and also caned.