SINGAPORE: A senior executive at Bloomberg was acquitted on Friday (Dec 9) of molesting his Filipina domestic helper after an 11-day trial.
District Judge Salina Ishak said prosecutors had failed to prove their case against Nitin Jaiswal, 43, beyond reasonable doubt.
Mr Jaiswal had been accused of using criminal force on his helper, also 43, by kissing her on the lips and touching her breast on Feb 18, 2015.
Mr Jaiswal had returned to Singapore from a trip to Mumbai on Feb 18 and arrived home in a taxi at about 7.35 am. At 9.45 am, he headed back to the airport to fly to Melbourne, Australia to join his wife and two children there.
Between 7.30 am and 9.45 am, Mr Jaiswal was alone at home with the maid. She claimed that it was during this time Mr Jaiswal molested her after she had given him a massage. She also asked Mr Jaiswal whether there was a CCTV camera in the house so his wife could see what he had done.
Mr Jaiswal left for Melbourne as planned. While the family was away, the maid spoke to a neighbour about the incident and when the family returned on Feb 24, she told Mr Jaiswal’s wife what had happened. Three days later, the domestic helper left the family’s Tanjong Rhu condominium, taking her work permit and passport with her, and lodged a police report on Feb 28.
Mr Jaiswal’s lawyer Christopher de Souza had argued the woman was motivated by money in making “false allegations” against her employer. She owed her employers S$1,100 and had planned to extract more money from Mr Jaiswal with the allegation, the defence claimed.
Prosecutors argued the maid had no reason to lie, and had asked for money to buy food while the family was away.
The district judge said prosecutors had failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.
In cases where there is no evidence against the accused besides the victim’s testimony, “the court has to determine one person’s word against another,” Judge Salina said.
She said that Mr Jaiswal had not been “wholly truthful” about his version of events, but that “ample doubt” had been raised about the prosecution’s version of events.
The testimony of the main witness and victim had been “inconsistent”, the judge said.
“Both the prosecution’s case and the defence’s case have gaps which cannot be fully reconciled with the evidence,” Judge Salina said, adding the facts and circumstances which emerged during the trial “do not point convincingly and squarely” to Mr Jaiswal molesting the woman.
She agreed with the defence that “material aspects” of the prosecution’s case were contradicted by what the victim had told others.
After the acquittal, Mr de Souza said Mr Jaiswal and his family “feel vindicated”. “The company has stood by him and he is very grateful,” Mr de Souza added.