Man who conducted own defence acquitted of molest charge
A man accused of molesting a woman on a crowded LRT train was acquitted of the charge on Tuesday.
Mr Tay Jia Jun, 30, who conducted his own defence, walked out of court a free man after District Judge Ong Chin Rhu found that the prosecution had not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The judge said she did not find the woman to be "unusually convincing", a standard applied in cases reliant on testimony.
"I wish to emphasise that I arrived at this conclusion not because I found (her) to be a witness who lacked credibility... " Judge Ong said.
"On the contrary, I found (her) to be candid and frank... readily (admitting) to the gaps or limitations of her own observations and knowledge, including the fact she never specifically saw who or what touched her."
She said the crux of the trial was whether the "bumps" the woman felt on her rear during an LRT ride between Kadaloor LRT station and Punggol MRT station were caused by Mr Tay.
Based on the evidence presented, Judge Ong said she could not dismiss the possibility that the bumps were caused by someone or something else.
Mr Tay was accused of touching the woman with his hand at about 8.10am on Aug 13, 2019.
Court documents did not state the woman's name or age.
She and Mr Tay were on the way to work and Mr Tay was standing behind the woman, to her right. Both testified that the train was packed with commuters.
For about three minutes, the woman felt what she described as bumps on her rear. She said she felt them even while the train was stationary, which led her to think they were intentional.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Mr Tay with his left hand behind the lower right side of her body. She then used her phone to take photos of him, posting it later on Instagram with captions expressing outrage at his alleged acts.
Mr Tay learnt of the accusations when he was arrested three days later.
During the trial, he denied intentionally touching the woman and did not know if he had accidentally touched her.
He said the LRT ride was a routine trip he had taken over three years and he was "half-awake" at the time, so he was unable to recall specific details.
Deputy Public Prosecutors Lee Ti-Ting and Joshua Phang said Mr Tay's explanations were illogical and unbelievable, but Judge Ong disagreed.
She said it was also reasonable to expect that there were other commuters directly behind the woman, given the crowded conditions.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Mr Tay said: "I did not commit the crime... I felt that the law is just and fair, that is why I didn't engage a lawyer."