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Grab driver attempted rape trial: Victim 'insisted' she did not want me to send her home, says friend who booked the ride

Grab driver attempted rape trial: Victim 'insisted' she did not want me to send her home, says friend who booked the ride

Former Grab driver Tan Yew Sin leaving the High Court on Sep 29, 2020. (Photo: TODAY/Raj Nadarajan)

SINGAPORE: A man who booked a Grab ride home for his intoxicated friend, who was later allegedly sexually assaulted by the driver, told a court on Wednesday (Sep 30) that the woman "kept insisting" she did not want him to send her home from a bar.

He also said that he did not send the woman home because his girlfriend, who was also at the bar, was tired, and that the victim's home was at the "other end of Singapore".

The 22-year-old student, who cannot be named as it could lead to identification of the victim, took the stand in the trial against former Grab driver Tan Yew Sin.

Tan, 46, is contesting charges of attempted rape, sexual assault and outrage of modesty against the victim, then 19, in the early hours of May 19, 2018 in his vehicle after picking her up from Wildseed Bar.

The witness, who came to know the victim in 2014 after working together at a smoothie shop, said he had gone to the bar at Seletar Aerospace Park on May 18, 2018, to meet his girlfriend and the victim.

They were seen in closed-circuit television footage played in court drinking at the bar in Seletar Aerospace Park, with the victim arriving at about 10.30pm.

The victim drank about four pints of beer, said the witness, drinking faster towards the end as the bar was closing.

During their gathering, the victim went to the toilet several times and said she wanted to vomit, said the witness. She also walked unsteadily and towards the end had to hold onto his arm.

In the early hours of May 19, the witness helped to book a Grab car for the victim, but when the car arrived, the victim was still in the toilet. 

When the witness asked the Grab driver if he could wait, he said he could not and asked the witness to cancel.

READ: Former Grab driver on trial for attempted rape, sexual assault of 19-year-old passenger

The witness booked a second Grab car and testified that he had asked the victim if she wanted him to send her home.

"She kept insisting, saying 'don't want, I can go back myself'," said the witness.

He said he repeatedly asked the victim if she wanted him to send her home, and said she was "really tipsy already". Before that, she appeared dizzy and had trouble walking, he testified.

In the footage played in court, the witness was seen opening the door of the Grab car for the victim after the vehicle arrived.

He could be heard telling Tan: "My friend is a bit drunk, is it ok for you to send her back?"

Tan responded in Mandarin: "I cannot help you if she's drunk."

The man also testified that he told Tan the victim was only a little drunk, because he did not think she was at the point of blacking out.

"She said she really (had) no problem. I knew she couldn't walk properly, but I didn't know it's black out that kind of drunk," he said. He added that he did not want to give the impression that his friend was "KO", or knocked out.

He then handed Tan cash of S$20 and told him to keep the change, and asked his friend to text him when she reached home.

He acknowledged that while he had not noticed at the time, the woman "sounded like she was pretty damn drunk" in a video clip played in court.

WHY DID HE NOT SEND HER HOME?

Asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor Muhamad Imaduddien why he did not send the victim home, the witness said there were several factors.

First, the victim was "quite persistent" in saying that she did not want him to send her home, saying that she wanted to go by herself.

Second, the witness's girlfriend at the time, a flight attendant, had just returned from overseas and was tired.

The victim also lived at "the other end of Singapore", so they decided to go their separate ways, said the witness.

After Tan drove off, the witness and his girlfriend took another vehicle to her home. He testified that he tried to call the victim a few times during his ride, but she did not pick up.

He tried to call her again once more when he got to his girlfriend's home, to no avail. The next morning, he woke up to missed calls from the victim, her mother and the police.

According to the prosecution, Tan had driven the victim to her home, but she could not open the side gate.

He then took her back to his car where he sexually assaulted her and attempted to rape her. After this, he drove to a secluded area and molested her, before driving her back home.

The victim entered the compound but did not return home. She was later found lying in the middle of the road with her shorts and underwear missing. Tan's DNA was found in her bra, and the victim's DNA was found on Tan's underwear.

Tan, who is married with three children, is defended by lawyers Chenthil Kumarasingam and Adeline Goh from Withers KhattarWong. He has been banned from Grab's platform.

If convicted of attempted rape or sexual assault by penetration, Tan could be jailed for up to 20 years, fined, or caned. 

If found guilty of outrage of modesty, he could be jailed for up to two years, fined, caned, or given any combination of these punishments.

Source: CNA/ll

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