Ex-teacher acquitted of indecent act with teen after judge finds alleged victim had motive to lie

The 40-year-old was cleared after he was able to show that the boys had a clear motive to lie. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A former school teacher was cleared on Wednesday (Sept 20) of three charges under the Children and Young Persons Act.

In acquitting him, the judge said that there was a "real possibility" that the two boys involved had colluded to make false allegations against the accused.

The 40-year-old was accused of committing indecent acts with two boys, aged 13 and 14 then, and getting the younger boy to massage his groin area.

The three charges pertained to alleged offences against the younger boy.

The accused was head of department at a primary school at the time of the alleged offences in 2012.

District Judge John Ng said on Wednesday that the prosecution had not been able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had committed the alleged acts against the then 13-year-old.

The boy, the judge said, was unable to provide specific descriptions of the offending acts in relation to any specified occasion.

On the other hand, the judge found the accused's evidence credible and raised doubts in the prosecution's case against him.

"The defence was able to provide indirect but credible evidence which made it unsafe to accept the evidence of (the boy)," he said.

The defence was able to show that the boys had a clear motive to lie, said the judge. Such a motive had likely sprung from the perceived unfair criticism and harsh treatment of the alleged victim by the accused, the judge added.

The accused was initially facing 11 charges.

During the trial, the prosecution proceeded on eight charges against him. The other three charges, involving the then 14-year-old, have been stood down.

In the midst of the trial, the prosecution amended two of the eight charges. It also applied for the accused to be given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal on five charges.

This was granted, leaving the accused with three charges, two of which were amended.

Mr Adrian Wee and Ms Rachel Soh defended the accused.

The maximum punishment under the Children and Young Persons Act is a $10,000 fine and five years' jail.

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