Scoot passenger to begin sentence for molesting air stewardess after judge dismisses appeal

Scoot passenger to begin sentence for molesting air stewardess after judge dismisses appeal

Vijayan Mathan Gopal was convicted of three charges of molesting a flight attendant
Vijayan Mathan Gopal (right) was convicted of three charges of molesting a flight attendant in November 2017 during a Scoot flight from Cochin, India to Singapore. (Photo: Nuria Ling/TODAY)

SINGAPORE: A passenger who molested an air stewardess on a Scoot flight will begin serving his jail term of four months after his appeal was dismissed on Friday (Oct 16).

Indian national Vijayan Mathan Gopal, 40, was found guilty in August last year of molesting a 22-year-old stewardess on a Scoot flight from Cochin, India, to Singapore on Nov 2, 2017.

He was convicted on three counts of outraging the woman's modesty, by holding her arm and touching her face, cupping her face with his hands, placing his hand on her thigh and touching her buttock.

Justice Aedit Abdullah on Friday said he was satisfied that the appeal should be dismissed, "despite the best efforts" of Vijayan's lawyers from Allen & Gledhill.

The judge said he found that the evidence relied on by the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that Vijayan committed the offences.

While there were some inconsistencies in evidence, the credibility of the victim was not in doubt, said Justice Aedit.

He added he did not see anything that supported Vijayan's claims that the victim and her colleague had fabricated the allegations after he complained about poor service.

READ: Scoot passenger gets jail for molesting air stewardess on flight, wants to appeal

The victim testified during the lower court trial that she felt angry, uncomfortable and disgusted when Vijayan cupped her face with his hands and told her she was beautiful.

When she leaned back and raised her voice, saying "sir, sir, sir", Vijayan replied: "Do not throw your anger at me" and "I'm the boss of this flight".

The victim reported the incident to the flight captain and later submitted a report to Scoot and the airport police.

The defence lawyer confirmed on Friday that Vijayan was prepared to start serving his jail term immediately, and the judge allowed him half an hour to speak to his relative before doing so.

Source: CNA/ll(cy)

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