A senior flight attendant was found guilty of molesting his 27-year-old female colleague on board a flight from Singapore to Manila, Philippines.
He was convicted at the close of the case’s trial on Monday (Jan. 17), as reported by CNA .
According to court documents seen by Mothership , the accused is a 50-year-old Singaporean man who was the highest-ranking cabin crew on board the flight.
The victim reported directly to him.
Neither he nor the victim can be named due to gag orders protecting the victim’s identity.
Details of the airline and names of people involved were also redacted from court documents.
“Smacked” her buttock
Both the accused and the victim were on board a turnaround flight from Singapore to Manila on May 3, 2019.
The victim was attending to a business class passenger when the incident occurred.
As stated in court documents, the victim testified that she was standing with her “knees slightly bent, upper body slightly leaning forward… and perhaps, tilted a bit towards the chair”.
She subsequently felt a “smack” on her right buttock, and her body “jolted up” in reaction to the contact.
She testified that the severity of the contact was “hard and surprising”.
The victim then saw the accused walking past her on her left. There was no one else behind her.
The accused stopped, turned to look at her, and told her in a “cheeky or a playful” manner to not stand in that way.
The victim testified that she did not confront the accused immediately, because she was shocked and did not know how to react.
She also did not consent to the accused slapping her buttock, court documents stated.
He apologised to the victim
When the plane landed in Manila, she was preparing for the turnaround flight when the accused apologised to her, saying he had “no intention to do it”.
She asked him what other intention he could have had but he kept repeating this.
He then told her, as stated in court documents: “I'm sorry, I hit your ass”.
During the transit in Manila, the victim sent a WhatsApp text message to her ward leader about what had happened.
In her texts, she said, according to court documents: “It was intentional, it was not a grope or an accidental touch… [i]t was a hard slap (smack).”
Swore it was his first time
On the flight back to Singapore, the victim also informed the flight captain of the incident.
The flight captain then called for them to meet him in the cockpit. The first officer and the chief steward were also present at the meeting.
During the meeting, the accused apologised and said once again that it “wasn’t [his] intention”.
The victim asked him to state what he was apologising for and told him: “From the look on your… unwavering face, this is not your first time.”
The accused then replied: “I swear on my mother… I swear on the [religious text] that this is my first time.”
The victim continued asking the accused to state specifically what he had done to her, and he eventually admitted to hitting her buttock.
Throughout the cockpit meeting, the accused provided no defence for why he had slapped the victim’s buttock.
After the victim left the cockpit, the accused tried to speak to her twice before the flight landed, but she declined to speak to him.
On May 5, 2019, when she was back in Singapore, the victim lodged a police report against the accused.
Claimed he was correcting her posture
In court, the accused denied touching or slapping the victim’s buttock.
He testified that he only “tapped” the victim’s “right side of the pelvic” when he saw that she was leaning against the seat.
He added that her buttocks were “protruding” into the aisle.
The accused further described the victim’s posture as “provocative”, and claimed to have touched the victim to correct her posture.
The accused will return to court for sentencing in March 2022, reported The Straits Times .
For outraging a person’s modesty, an offender could be jailed for up to two years, caned, fined, or given any combination of the three.
However, the accused cannot be caned as he is 50 years old.
Another similar incident in 2018
Court documents showed that the accused is also facing another charge of molesting a 32-year-old woman on a separate flight from Singapore to the Netherlands on Nov. 26, 2018.
Charge sheets stated that the accused had also slapped the woman’s buttocks.
Top image by Alexander Schimmeck via Unsplash.
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