Researcher fined $3k for squeezing woman's buttocks

A researcher asked a beer promoter to repeat eight times the price of two bottles of beer. He also asked her to move closer to him before he molested her.

Yesterday, Dymkou Siarhei, a 39-year-old Belarusian, was fined $3,000 after he admitted to squeezing the buttocks of the 29-year-old woman.

The offence took place at a coffee shop in Woodlands at about 6.30pm on July 22.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Zhi Xiang told the court that Siarhei arrived at the coffee shop in the afternoon and started consuming food and alcohol.

At about 6.30pm, he called out to the victim to order two bottles of beer.

As the victim knew Siarhei was a frequent patron and flirted with beer promoters, she approached him warily, and kept her distance.

After placing the bottles of beer on his table, she asked for $13.20.

Siarhei insisted that she move closer to him, saying that he would otherwise not make payment. She moved closer to him. He then asked her to repeat the price of the beer, claiming that he did not hear her the first time.

He made her repeat the price to him eight times, and asked her to move even closer towards him.

Eventually, he paid her. When she was counting the money, he molested her and was reprimanded by a few patrons who saw what he had done.

DPP Tan said Siarhei was thereafter involved in a commotion with other patrons, and the police were called. Siarhei was arrested for molesting the victim.

DPP Tan had sought at least a $3,000 fine to be imposed. The 19.9 per cent rise in outrage of modesty cases in the first nine months of this year highlighted the need for general deterrence, he said.

He added that there was "persistent harassment" in this case.

Siarhei's lawyer Lim Fung Peen said his client was under tremendous work stress at the time and what he did was "one-off" and "out of character".

Mr Lim, who asked for the minimum fine of $1,000, added that his client had lost his National University of Singapore research job.

District Judge Lim Tse Haw said that as opposed to a mere slap, Siarhei had squeezed the buttocks of the victim, which was more aggravating.

The maximum penalty for outrage of modesty is two years' jail, a fine and caning.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2017, with the headline 'Researcher fined $3k for squeezing woman's buttocks'. Print Edition | Subscribe