Indian national jailed for molesting sleeping woman on Singapore Airlines flight

Wan Ting Koh
Reporter
Stock photo from Getty Images.

While asleep on a window seat on board a Singapore Airlines flight, a woman awoke to a sensation of someone pressing her breast.

She saw the hand of the man beside her on her breast.

The man, 23-year-old Ravichandran Vignesh, admitted he pressed on the woman’s breast while she was sleeping as he was “drunk and high and tempted” to do so, court documents showed.

At the State Courts on Thursday (18 October), the Indian national, who pleaded guilty to one count of molest, was sentenced to jail for six months.

Ravichandran and the 31-year-old woman were on a flight from Bengaluru, India bound for Bali, Indonesia with a transit stop in Singapore. It was the first time Ravichandran, who owns a pet shop in India, was taking a flight.

On 1 October this year, at about 1am, the woman had boarded the Singapore Airlines flight and sat at her allocated window seat. Ravichandran took his allocated seat next to the woman.

During the flight, the woman had her meal at about 3.30am Singapore time before falling asleep after covering herself with a blanket.

At about 4.00am, the woman felt someone touching and pressing her right breast. She immediately woke up and saw Ravinchandran’s hand on her right breast. Shocked and outraged, the woman shouted at Ravinchandran, who removed his hand and pretended to sleep.

The woman requested for a change of seats, and the cabin crew moved her to an empty seat at the back.

The woman later sent feedback via SIA’s online form detailing the incident. She also sent an email to the Deputy Commander of the Airport Police Division.

She lodged police report at about 10.58am the next day with the Airport Police Division.

Police managed to trace Ravichandran and arrested him upon his transit through Singapore from Bali on 4 October.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Amanda Han said that Ravichandran had committed the offence at a confined space where the victim had nowhere to escape to. He had also used some force, she added.

The DPP urged for a jail sentence of six months.

In mitigation, Ravichandran, who was unrepresented, said through an interpreter that it was his first time taking a flight and that he had toured Bali.

“I do not know the laws of Singapore. I have not done this back home in India before,” Ravichandran said on Thursday, adding that he came from a poor family in India.

“I will not touch any woman again. I will not travel overseas again. I will not come back to Singapore again,” said Ravichandran, who pleaded to return to India and promised not to reoffend.

For molest, Ravichandran could have been jailed up to two years, fined or caned, or with caning, or with any combination of the punishments.

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