SINGAPORE — A man who trapped a domestic helper in a toilet and molested her was jailed for four years and given six strokes of the cane on Thursday (25 March).
District Judge Brenda Tan considered that Vietnamese Le Huy Nam had pleaded guilty and was a first offender.
The 31-year-old had earlier pleaded guilty to molesting the 27-year-old Burmese woman while wrongfully restraining her, with one count of attempted sexual penetration to be taken into consideration for sentencing.
In an earlier hearing, Deputy Public Prosecutor Rebecca Wong sought four-and-a-half years' jail with six strokes of the cane. She said Le might have been successful had the victim's friends not intervened.
Le’s lawyer, Dennis Saw submitted for a jail term of three years. He said Le left his wife and two children, aged eight and five, in Vietnam when he came to work in Singapore.
Then the sole breadwinner of his family, Le took up a loan of $15,000 to come to Singapore and still owes the sum, together with the interest accrued. He added his client was uncertain of his family's financial status now as he was not able to contact them.
He misses them and is really regretful for his actions and wants to see them as soon as possible... he is very worried and concerned for his family,” Saw said.
Accused and victim never met before incident
The victim, who cannot be named due to a court gag order, came to Singapore on 16 December 2019 in the hopes of getting employment as a maid. She moved into a lodging house where she resided in a room with other individuals.
Le, who worked as a restaurant chef, had been residing in the same lodging house from 30 September 2019. He had never met the victim before the offence.
On 23 December 2019, at around 2am, the woman went to use the common toilet at the service yard next to the kitchen. As she opened the door to leave, Le, who had been waiting outside, pushed her back in and closed the door behind him. He pulled the toilet cover down and pushed the victim onto the seat.
Even as the victim pleaded with him “not to do (it)” in broken English, clasping her hands in a pleading gesture, the man groped her under her shirt forcefully. He told investigators that he had been overcome with a “sexual urge” upon seeing the victim.
Le then exposed his penis and attempted to sexually assault the woman. He forced the woman to masturbate him with her hand for some five minutes. Le tried to pull the woman’s pants down but she resisted. He held the woman down throughout her ordeal to prevent her from escaping.
Le stopped when the victim’s roommates knocked on the toilet. They had been concerned about her absence and had heard crying as they approached the toilet.
For molesting a person under wrongful restraint, Le may be jailed between two and 10 years, with caning.
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