An Indian yoga instructor, who repeatedly molested his student, had his jail sentence enhanced from nine months to a year, along with additional punishment of three strokes of the cane, by a Singapore High Court judge on Friday.
Rakesh Kumar Prasad, 26, had appealed against his conviction but his arguments were rejected by the high court which allowed an appeal by the prosecution, reported The Straits Times Saturday.
Justice See Kee Oon said Rakesh had blatantly abused his position of trust.
“His sheer audacity in carrying out repeated intrusions with increasing brazenness while disparaging, belittling and threatening the victim must point strongly towards the need for caning,” said the judge.
Rakesh had molested the woman, then 25, while she was the only student in his class at the Real Yoga studio in Tampines housing estate on 26 April, 2015.
The woman made a police report the next day.
After a trial, Rakesh was found guilty of one charge each of molestation and of using criminal force for grabbing the woman’s neck. He was sentenced in April to nine months’ jail for molesting her and fined SGD1,000 for grabbing her neck.
He appealed against his conviction. His lawyer argued that surveillance footage of the studio indicated that he could not have molested the woman in the way she described.
But Justice See said it was not possible to discern any details given the poor picture quality. The footage did not raise any reasonable doubt in Rakesh’s favour, he added.
The judge said a year’s jail was warranted as the case involved repeated skin-to-skin contact with the woman’s private parts, with no substantial mitigating factors.
The fact that Rakesh persisted after the woman fended him off, with his actions escalating, was an aggravating factor that warranted caning, he said.