SINGAPORE — A man charged with sexually assaulting his sister’s drunken friend after a night of partying claimed trial on Tuesday (29 September).
Norvan Tan En Jie, 24, allegedly committed the offences while the victim, then aged 19, spent the night at the siblings’ flat on Boxing Day in 2016.
According to court documents, Tan tried to kiss and molest the victim that night. He also pulled down her pants and underwear in an attempt to rape her while she was vomiting in the kitchen toilet at the flat.
Tan, who is the co-founder of food business Beef Bro, currently faces two charges of molest and one charge each of digitally penetrating the victim and of sodomising her.
Victim unable to resist
The prosecution opened its case on Tuesday, telling the High Court that Tan’s sister and the victim – both of whom were primary school classmates – returned to the siblings’ flat at 5.42am on 26 December 2016 after a night of heavy drinking at a bar and a club.
The sister had arranged for the victim to stay over for the night. Tan’s parents were asleep at the time the entered the flat.
The victim was heavily intoxicated and Tan’s sister had to help her into the kitchen toilet to vomit. She also helped the victim change out of her black dress and into the sister’s own T-shirt and shorts.
The sister then left the victim in the toilet before going to Tan’s bedroom. Tan himself had just returned home with two male friends after a night of drinking. While in Tan’s bedroom, Tan’s sister asked to speak to one of Tan’s friends privately. Tan then left his bedroom.
According to the victim, while she was in the toilet, Tan entered and spoke to her. She recognised his voice but did not respond to his words.
Tan then allegedly lifted the victim from behind and carried her out of the toilet. He placed her on the sofa in the living room before kissing her on the lips, said the prosecution. The victim was unable to resist due to her drunken state. She then made her way back to the toilet as she felt nauseated again.
Tan then followed her and carried her into his sister’s bedroom. He placed her on his sister’s bed before molesting her underneath her shirt. He also digitally penetrated the girl, who could not resist him. He then left the room while the victim ran back to the kitchen toilet to vomit.
While the victim was vomiting, she felt someone pulling down her shorts and underwear. She said she recognised Tan’s voice and struggled when she realised he was trying to rape her. He then allegedly sodomised her before leaving the toilet.
Tan’s sister later returned for her friend and took the victim to sleep in her bedroom.
According to Deputy Public Prosecutors Ng Yiwen, Sheryl Yeo and Asoka Markandu, the victim told her friends about her suspicions that it was Tan who had sexually assaulted her. She also texted Tan’s sister and the latter eventually revealed that Tan had admitted to having “fingered” the victim.
The victim filed a police report on 27 December 2016 and Tan was arrested a day later.
The prosecution also claimed that there was evidence of Tan’s semen having been found on the back of the victim’s shirt. The victim’s DNA was also found on the front and back of the underwear that Tan was wearing at the time.
Due to take the stand is an Institute of Mental Health doctor, who will testify to the victim’s physical impairment at the time of the offences due to her acute alcohol intoxication, said the prosecution.
Accused’s sister deleted phone data
An investigation officer (IO) assigned to the case testified on Tuesday that she was told Tan’s sister confronted her brother after the victim informed the sister what had happened. Tan then admitted to his sister that he had done something wrong.
On 28 April 2017, the IO contacted Tan’s sister to record a statement. After the statement was taken, the IO told Tan’s sister that she needed to seize her mobile phone. This upset Tan’s sister and she made the IO speak to her father.
Prior to handing the phone over, and without the IO’s knowledge, Tan’s sister managed to perform a factory reset on her phone to delete all its data. A forensic examination was conducted on the phone but no data was recovered.
During the IO’s cross-examination, Tan’s lawyer Amarjit Singh argued that it was “impossible” for Tan to be behind the woman and to sexually penetrate her from that position. The IO disagreed, as there was “plenty of space in the toilet” with space on the left and right of the toilet bowl. She said that Tan could have shifted the victim to commit the act.
Singh further argued that when the IO arrived at the flat on 28 December, the clothes that she seized had all been contaminated as they were all in the same laundry basket.
The IO disputed Singh’s claim and said that the clothing items seized were on different positions on the laundry basket and that they were handled separately.
The trial continues on Tuesday afternoon.
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