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Indian-origin man pleads guilty in Singapore court to sexually assaulting worker

A 20-year-old Indian-origin man has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a maintenance worker from India whose identity is protected under a court order.

Sree Kanth Murugan, who works in the hospitality industry, sexually violated the worker before running away when the victim woke up.

Another charge of molestation will be taken into consideration for sentencing Sree.

According to a report by Today newspaper, the 34-year-old worker was sleeping on the void deck of a housing block where Sree lived.

District Judge Carol Ling called for probation and reformative training suitability reports before her judgment on May 9.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Ho May Kim has called for a report to assess Sree’s suitability for reformative training and told the court that probation would not be a “realistic” sentencing option, considering the “brazen sexual offense” that he had committed.

DPP Ho also argued that probation would have a “limited” effect in deterring Sree from committing such offenses, and rehabilitation would be more effective in a structured environment such as reformative training.

Reformative training is a regimented rehabilitative programme offered to young offenders under 21. Offenders need to stay at a training center to undergo various programs.

Unlike probation and community sentences, those sent for reformative training will have a criminal record.

Sree’s defense lawyer, Asoka Markandu, said that he was “completely flabbergasted” at the prosecution’s objection to probation and instead asked for a probation suitability report to be done.

He argued that sending his client for reformative training would be akin to placing him in a “den full of wolves”, adding that a probation officer would provide him with sufficient guidance.

Asoka said that sexuality issues are a big concern for young people today since the digital age has made youth more aware of such topics at a younger age, and that his client was “someone screaming for help”, which led him to “satisfy his urge” in such a public manner.

In response, DPP Ho said that Sree was already at the “cusp of adulthood” when he committed the offense and that reformative training was an option that was already considered rehabilitation.

DPP Ho emphasized that Sree had “preyed” on the victim when he was sleeping and in a vulnerable state and ran away once he was detected.

District Judge Ling agreed with both the prosecution and the defense that rehabilitation would be the predominant consideration for sentencing and called for both suitability reports.

Around 10:30 pm on October 27 last year, the victim chatted and drank three cans of beer with his relative at a void deck of a public housing block along Kim Keat Avenue.

While waiting for his relative to get ready to give him a ride back to his dormitory, the victim fell asleep on a concrete slab.

Around 30 minutes later, Sree arrived and sat at a table near him. Sree then molested the man before sexually assaulting him.

The victim woke up to find his private parts exposed and Sree sitting at his feet.

Sree ran off, and though the foreign worker chased him, he managed to escape to his nearby home. He was later arrested.

Anyone who commits sexual assault involving penetration can be jailed for up to 20 years and can also be caned or fined.

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