Phuah Choo Kang, “Don’t play play…”
S’pore Court of Appeal slams lawyer for submitting “unreasonable” appeal for Saudi diplomat molester
It was, essentially, a complete waste of their time.
In Aug. 2016, he visited Singapore for a holiday with his family and stayed at a hotel in Sentosa. While there, he molested a then-20-year-old hotel intern.
Alzahrani was sentenced to 26 months and one week in jail, and four strokes of the cane. In July 2017, the High Court dismissed his appeal against his conviction and sentence.
He then began serving his prison sentence in August last year, after he tried his luck a third time with deferring his sentence after two previous appeals to defer it were granted.
But the 40-year-old tried again, demanding that his lawyer Pang Giap Oon file an application to refer questions of law, allegedly of public interest (when actually they were completely not) to the Court of Appeal.
And finally, about a year later, the Court of Appeal — led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, no less — not only roundly dismissed the application, but also took the time to lay the smackdown on Alzahrani’s defence lawyer Pang Giap Oon… for agreeing to file this application that even he knew to be a waste of time.
The reason? According to Channel NewsAsia, Pang revealed he had advised both Alzahrani and the Royal Saudi Arabian Embassy that the application was likely to fail. However, according to him, they “insisted that he should proceed”.
Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who presided over the hearing, rebuked him for abuse of process.
Menon noted that Pang had already been informed by the High Court that the questions he put forward were not questions of law, and were therefore not likely to be allowed.
By doing so anyway, Pang had conducted himself in an unreasonable manner.
In consequence, Pang was ordered to pay $5,000 in costs for filing the application, which will be given to the Law Society of Singapore.
4 Feb 2017
Saudi Arabian diplomat gets jail time, caning for molesting intern
SINGAPORE — A Saudi Arabian diplomat was on Friday (Feb 3) sentenced to 26 months and a week’s jail, and four strokes of the cane for forcefully kissing and groping a hotel trainee while he was on holiday in Singapore.
Bander Yahya A Alzahrani, who is married with three children and based in Beijing, was found guilty of two counts of outrage of modesty and one count of using criminal force on the 20-year-old victim, who cannot be named to protect her identity.
Chiding the 39-year-old for preying on a “young and naive victim”, District Judge Lee Poh Choo rejected the defence’s argument that he “acted in a moment of extremely poor judgment and folly”.
“I am not persuaded at all by the plea that (Alzahrani) was a respected individual of good character and he acted in moment of indiscretion and poor judgment. He knew and intended his actions,” she said.
Alzahrani’s lawyers have filed a notice to appeal against his conviction and sentence. He is out on S$20,000 bail.
During the eight-day trial, the court heard that Alzahrani molested the victim twice within 15 minutes, such as by kissing her neck and face, and touching her all over her body. This was while she was showing him around a panoramic suite in Sentosa resort island. Prosecutors said that he also asked her for sex.
In sentencing him, District Judge Lee commended the resort employees for their alertness and for the “many hours (that) were expended” in getting information from the victim.
However, she said: “The wisdom of sending a young female intern, alone, to show a room to a male guest is a separate matter.”
The Saudi Arabia embassy in Singapore and China did