SINGAPORE – An Australian man who molested two women in separate incidents within a span of two hours faces a jail term and caning.
Wade James Burridge, 34, a director of his own company that deals in race horses, was convicted of two charges of outrage of modesty.
He was sentenced to 11 months’ jail and three strokes of the cane on Wednesday (Dec 6). Burridge is filing an appeal and is out on $40,000 bail.
He was convicted on Oct 25 after a six-day trial.
The court heard he touched the private parts of a 46-year-old events consultant at Mogambo Bar in Canton Street at about 11pm on Oct 8, 2015.
He was also found guilty of putting his hand inside a 33-year-old physiotherapist’s shorts and squeezing her buttock at The Mad Men Attic Bar in North Canal Road at 12.37am the next day.
The first victim testified that she felt Burridge’s hand up her skirt and touch her for about two seconds when he walked behind her.
She immediately turned around and hit Burridge and told the bar’s general manager, who reported the incident to the police.
The court also heard that Burridge was sitting behind the second victim when he kept knocking on her chair.
About 10 to 15 minutes later, she felt his hands grabbing her waist. She was not sure if he fumbled or fell. His right hand then went down inside her shorts and he squeezed her right buttock.
The woman grabbed his shirt collar and yelled at him, and wanted to punch him. She released him and he walked away but she reported the matter and the police were called.
In her brief oral grounds in October, District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim found that Burridge’s touching of the first victim was not accidental but deliberate.
And even if Burridge said that he fell and grabbed the second victim’s waist, there was absolutely no necessity for his hand to go under her shorts and squeeze her buttock.
Deputy Public Prosecutor N.K. Anitha asked for a total sentence of nine months and 10 weeks’ jail with three strokes of the cane.
She said Burridge was clearly a persistent offender, as he had committed two distinct offences within a short span of time over the course of a single night, adding that the second victim suffered psychological harm as a result of his actions.
Burridge’s lawyer Shashi Nathan said his client had been living in Singapore since 2010 and has a baby boy with his partner of two years.
He said his client had been drinking heavily and was intoxicated on both occasions. He urged the court to depart from the usual benchmark of nine months and three strokes of the cane and impose five to six months instead.
Mr Nathan added that Burridge had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder by a psychiatrist at the time, and that his symptoms were exacerbated by the end of his long-term relationship and stress at work.
The maximum penalty for outrage of modesty is two years’ jail, fine and caning. – StraitsTimes
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