Nahrawi Dahi, a 72-year-old Singaporean man, has been convicted of molesting a 16-year-old girl on a public bus, following a trial that hinged on the credibility of the victim’s testimony.
The incident in question occurred on March 26 last year when Nahrawi boarded bus service number 43 near Exit D of Paya Lebar MRT Station. The victim, whose identity is protected by a court order, had already been on the bus, and an altercation took place as Nahrawi was getting onto the vehicle.
As per the reports, Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage from the bus captured the movements of both Nahrawi and the victim, but crucially, it did not capture the molestation due to their positions during the incident.
Nahrawi, standing between the camera and the victim, blocked the view in the footage.
WANTED TO GRAB A POLE
During the trial, Nahrawi did not deny that there was physical contact between him and the victim but maintained that it was accidental. District Judge Carol Ling presided over the case and emphasized that since there was no corroborating evidence, the victim’s account needed to be especially convincing to prove her case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Judge Ling ultimately found the victim to be “unusually convincing” because she provided a “clear and logical” account of the incident. The judge noted that the victim did not tend to exaggerate or embellish her story and could describe certain details surrounding the incident while admitting uncertainty about others.
One detail that came into question was which hand Nahrawi had used to commit the offense. The teenager recalled that Nahrawi had squeezed her right breast but could not recall which hand he used.
However, Judge Ling pointed out that both parties acknowledged that physical contact had occurred, regardless of which hand was involved, the report added.
In contrast, Nahrawi’s testimony was described as incoherent and contradictory by Judge Ling. Nahrawi initially claimed that he mistook the victim for a boy due to his poor eyesight, a claim that evolved into him asserting that he had missed grabbing a pole.
Throughout the trial, Nahrawi repeatedly stated that the touch was accidental whenever faced with challenging questions.
When the judge’s decision was translated to Nahrawi, he responded in Malay, stating, “aku tak sengaja,” which means he did not do it intentionally.
Nahrawi is scheduled to appear in court in January next year for sentencing and is currently out on bail. Under Singaporean law, anyone convicted of outrage of modesty can face a sentence of up to three years in jail, a fine, or caning, or a combination of these punishments. However, Nahrawi, being above the age of 50, is exempt from caning.
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