Molester loses appeal against conviction

The MRT train was packed during the morning rush hour when a 34-year-old IT systems consultant molested a 19-year-old law firm intern.

Balasubramaniyan Gowri Balan not only touched the undergraduate several times, he also trailed her as she switched trains and left the Clarke Quay MRT station, even though his intended stop was the Little India station.

He followed her to New Bridge Road and waited for her while she bought breakfast at a coffeeshop before heading to her office.

Balasubramaniyan, who had been given nine months' jail by a district judge earlier, yesterday lost his appeal against the conviction.

The victim had testified that she did not dare confront him on the train because she felt scared. Also, she was worried that images of the incident could be splashed online.

But she lashed out when he approached her on the street and asked: "Are you Janet?"

The victim, who cannot be named under a gag order, demanded to know why he had touched her on the train.

She grabbed hold of him and flagged a taxi in an attempt to take him to a police station. But he broke free after a struggle and fled the scene.

The victim broke down in tears at the lobby of her office. She told her boyfriend over the phone as well as a colleague that she had been molested. Both suggested she make a police report, which she did later in the day.

Balasubramaniyan was later traced through CCTV footage at Clarke Quay MRT station, which showed him following her.

He admitted following her, saying he wanted to befriend her, but denied molesting her.

He said he was holding his haversack in his right hand and the handgrip above him with his left. Any contact between him and the victim was accidental owing to the movement of the train, he said.

But the district judge found the victim's account "candid, frank and forthcoming".

She testified that she was playing games on her mobile phone when she felt a touch in her groin area. She noticed Balasubramaniyan's arm near her body but initially thought the contact was accidental.

But the intermittent touches continued. When the train was less crowded, she moved away, but he followed her. Soon after, she again felt fingers pressing her groin area. This time, she was certain it was Balasubramaniyan.