Singapore — The appeal of a man found guilty of molesting a flight attendant on board a Scoot flight in 2017 has been dismissed. He has now begun to serve the four-month sentence that was imposed when he was convicted last year.
In August last year, 40-year-old Indian national Vijayan Mathan Gopal was convicted on three counts of outraging the modesty of a 22-year-old flight attendant on board a Scoot flight from India to Singapore on Nov 2, 2017.
He was found guilty of holding one of her arms and touching her face, cupping her face with his hands, placing his hand on the thigh and touching her on the buttock.
In his appeal through lawyers from Allen & Gledhill, he claimed that the flight attendant and one of her co-workers had made up the allegations of molestation after he had complained of their poor service.
However, on Friday (Oct 16), Justice Aedit Abdullah dismissed the appeal since the evidence that the prosecution had presented had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Vijayan had indeed molested the flight attendant.
There was no evidence that the flight attendants had made up the allegations against Vijayan, the judge said, despite the “best efforts” of his lawyers.
The attendant who had accused Vijayan of molestation said that when he cupped her face and told her she was beautiful, she felt angry, uncomfortable and disgusted, according to Channel NewsAsia.
She leaned away from him and said “sir, sir, sir,” but he told her, “Do not throw your anger at me” and “I’m the boss of this flight”.
The attendant reported the incident to the captain. She also filed a report with the airline and the airport police.
Vijayan, who is a permanent resident of Singapore, boarded the Nov 2, 2017 flight with his pants unzipped and smelling of alcohol.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jane Lim noted when he was convicted that commercial air travel involves passengers “packed into a confined space … for a period of time” with “no ready means of escape and immediate assistance from law enforcement is practically impossible”.
She added: “This was the very predicament the victim, an air stewardess, found herself (in) when she was molested by the accused while working.”
Vijayan’s lawyers told the court he was ready to serve sentence immediately, whereupon the judge gave him half an hour to talk to relatives before he was taken into custody. /TISG
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