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Singapore — A man accused of molesting a 17-year-old girl during a hypnotherapy session was given a discharge accounting to an acquittal.

This means he cannot be charged again with the same offence. District Judge John Ng granted the discharge on Monday to Sreekamal Asante Parambil Kalesan.

Mr Sreekamal, now 46, represented by lawyer Kalidass Murugaiyan of Kalidass Law Corporation, was working as a hypnotherapist on Apr 9, 2017, when he allegedly kissed a teenager while treating her. She accused him of kissing her on the face during the session.

According to the written grounds of the verdict seen by The Straits Times on Wednesday (Nov 24), Judge Ng said there were no witnesses to the offence, and there were discrepancies in the teenager’s claims.

“To find an accused guilty in such a situation where the court has to decide which version to choose between the testimonies of the accused and the alleged victim, the law requires that the testimony of the victim must be reliable and that there are no reasonable doubts to the acceptance of that oral testimony as truthful,” explained the judge.

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The court found it unsafe to convict Mr Sreekamal as the girl was under hypnosis when the offence is said to have happened, hence she had difficulty recalling the details vividly.

The Straits Times reported that the judge said “As long as the defence is able to raise a reasonable doubt on the charge, the accused will be entitled to an acquittal.” He added that the outcome of a case depended on the credibility of both parties.

“The complainant agreed with the defence counsel that during hypnosis, she was in a state between being conscious and unconscious, which affected her memory and what she was able to recollect in the course of the hypnotism,” he said.

The teenager testified initially that her eyes were open during the session but later mentioned that they had been closed.

“These unsatisfactory aspects of the evidence of the complainant made it unsafe to convict the accused on the charge.

“It is also equally important to bear in mind that there were no material inconsistencies in the evidence of the accused, and there was nothing in evidence which called into question his credibility,” said the judge.

If convicted of molestation, an offender can be sentenced to up to two years’ jail and fined or caned.

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ByHana O