Jail for construction worker who molested boy

He had been arrested after the child's father, who saw the deed in an MRT train, confronted him

A construction worker molested an 11-year-old boy in an MRT train while the child's father was standing nearby.

For committing the offence, Faruk Abdulla Al, 27, who is from Bangladesh, was sentenced yesterday to 15 weeks' jail. District Judge Ng Cheng Thiam had convicted him of a molestation charge last month after a two-day trial.

In his submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lai said the incident took place while the boy and his father were on their way to visit the child's grandmother in Tampines on Dec 4, 2017.

The pair boarded an east-bound train at Boon Lay station and were standing in a cabin when Faruk came towards them after boarding at Jurong East station at around 12.30pm.

Faruk then stood beside the boy, unaware that the child's father was standing nearby.

The court heard that Faruk was a complete stranger to the boy and his father.

The train was travelling towards Clementi station when Faruk initiated a conversation with the boy by tapping him on his left shoulder to get his attention.

The court heard that they started talking and Faruk placed his left hand on the boy's left shoulder.

INCONSISTENT TESTIMONY

It is submitted that the accused's about-turn as to whether he had touched the victim's shoulder is material and is a major inconsistency in his evidence. The accused can be seen clearly downplaying his culpability even during the trial itself.

DEPUTY PUBLIC PROSECUTOR NICHOLAS LAI

They were travelling from Clementi to Redhill station when Faruk slid his hand down and molested the child, said the DPP.

The boy's father saw Faruk committing the offence and confronted him to ask: "Why did you touch my son?"

DPP Lai added that when Faruk heard this, he apologised to the man and even knelt down in the train to ask for forgiveness.

The father pulled Faruk out of the train when they reached Tiong Bahru station and took him to the control station.

The police were notified and officers soon arrived to arrest him.

During the trial, the boy testified that when Faruk first touched his shoulder, the child thought the construction worker was just being "a little bit friendly".

However, the boy told Judge Ng he started to feel afraid when Faruk slid his hand down to his waist.

The DPP added that the "key plank" to the defence's case was that Faruk had only tapped the boy's shoulder and nothing else.

Faruk, however, told the court during the trial that he had made no contact with the child's shoulder.

DPP Lai said: "It is submitted that the accused's about-turn as to whether he had touched the victim's shoulder is material and is a major inconsistency in his evidence.

"The accused can be seen clearly downplaying his culpability even during the trial itself."

For molesting the boy, Faruk could have been jailed for up to five years and fined or caned.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2019, with the headline 'Jail for construction worker who molested boy'. Print Edition | Subscribe