S$15,000 fine for drunk S'porean lawyer who molested 3 women in bar

Police say that outrage of modesty cases are a "key concern" for them.

Andrew Koay | November 20, 2019, 07:18 PM

After consuming alcoholic drinks with his clients, a lawyer who found himself in a "drunken stupor" proceeded to molest three women.

Devandran Karunakaran also threatened and hurled vulgarities at a bar manager.

Lawyer was managing partner of a law firm

According to CNA, these actions saw the 40-year-old managing partner of law firm Ince Singapore sentenced to a fine of S$15,000 on Nov. 19, 2019.

He had pled guilty to three charges of molestation and one charge under the Protection from Harassment Act.

Three other charges of molestation were taken into account during sentencing.

The identities of his victims, as well as the location of the bar, are protected by a gag order imposed by the court.

Molesting the first victim

Court documents state that on May 16, 2018, Karunakaran had consumed alcoholic drinks with two clients at Asia Square, before heading to another bar.

Here he had more alcoholic drinks and was intoxicated.

Also in the bar was a 48-year-old woman who was a regular patron. She was having food and drinks by herself.

At about 11:00 pm, Karunakaran approached the woman from behind and used both his hands to stroke her back and waist.

He is described as moving his hands "downwards, upwards, and downwards again" by court documents.

Disgusted by his actions, the woman then swerved her body away and shouted at Karunakaran, telling him, "Don't touch me!"

In response, the lawyer "muttered incoherently" and headed to the upper level of the bar.

Molesting two women at the same time

However, he remained impenitent, turning his attention to two women standing around the DJ stand on the upper level of the bar, and stood in between them.

On his left was a 28-year-old who was working as DJ in the bar that night.

The other woman to his right was a 30-year-old friend of the DJ.

Karunakaran placed his left arm on the DJ's shoulder and his right arm behind the friend's back.

He then said to them: "Hey! What's up?"

Feeling disgusted, the DJ attempted to shrug the lawyer's arm off. Instead, he used his left hand to stroke her body from her shoulder to her waist.

This caused her to respond by leaning her body away from Karunakaran and push his left arm away.

She then removed her headset and walked away from the lawyer.

Also molested another woman

While this was happening, Karunakaran was using his right hand to stroke the other woman, from her waist to buttock.

This caused her to feel shocked and violated, and she took a step away from him.

According to court documents, Karunakaran had made skin-to-skin contact with both women as they were wearing crop tops.

The 30-year-old woman then waved to a man working at the bar, who told Karunakaran that his behaviour was unacceptable and asked him to leave the DJ stand.

However, Karunakaran ignored him and tried to strike up a conversation with the DJ. He also tried to pull her towards him, which prompted her to push him away.

Abusing the bar manager

The man then escorted Karunakaran away from the DJ stand before telling a bartender to inform the bar manager about what had transpired.

After rushing down to the bar, the manager spoke to the first woman Karunakaran molested and was informed that he had molested her thrice.

He then told the lawyer that a patron of the bar had alleged that he had touched her inappropriately, to which Karunakaran replied: "F**k you mate, who is the one who say (sic) I touched her?"

When the bar manager advised him to finish his drinks and leave the bar, Karunakaran responded by saying that he would not leave.

He also asked the bar manager if he knew who he was, and threatened to make him lose his job.

The bar manager and a security officer then escorted the lawyer out of the bar, during which they were subjected to at least ten separate vulgar utterances of "f**k you mate".

Police were then called to the bar and arrested Karunakaran at 1:51 am.

A "key concern"

In his sentencing submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Yen Seow said that Karunakaran, who was in a "drunken stupor", had "brazenly violated three women" in the bar.

He described the offender's behaviour as "defiant and unrepentant" even as he was being escorted out of the bar.

Tan argued for Karunakaran to be sentenced to prison, saying that it would serve as a deterrent to potential offenders.

He cited a police report from February 2019 that stated that outrage of modesty cases remained a "key concern".

"From 2017 to 2018, there had been an increase of 11.9% in total outrage of modesty cases, and an increase of 34.3% of outrage of modesty cases at nightspots."

For each charge of outrage of modesty, Karunakaran could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, caned, or given any combination of these punishments.

Top image from Alex Voulgaris via Unsplash and Ince law firm's website