Courts

Man wins reduced jail in molestation of 13-year old on flight

Defendant sought leniency after admitting he molested 13-year-old girl while he was drunk

Dubai: A passenger won his appeal and had his one-year imprisonment reduced to six months in jail for molesting a 13-year-old girl while he was drunk on a plane.

The 45-year-old Sri Lankan passenger, A.A., allowed the Singaporean girl, who was travelling alone, to take the adjacent seat and groped her repeatedly while she slept in November 2014.

In March, the Dubai Court of First Instance jailed the accused for one year for molesting the teenaged girl.

The accused entered a guilty plea and sought a reduced punishment before the Dubai Appeal Court.

“When he touched me the first time, I woke up and asked him to stop. I went back to sleep… he groped me again. I didn’t know what to do because I was alone and the aircraft’s lights were off. I pushed his hand away. I slept again but he touched me again,” the girl said in her prosecution statement.

Presiding Judge Saeed Salem Bin Sarm commuted the defendant’s imprisonment from one year to six months on grounds of leniency. “The accused will be deported following the completion of his punishment,” said Presiding Judge Bin Sarm in courtroom 20.

Court records said when the plane landed at Dubai International Airport, the girl informed the first security guard she saw about what had happened after he spotted her crying.

Prosecutors accused the defendant of consuming alcohol and molesting the minor girl.

Concerning the molestation case, the Singaporean girl said that she went to sleep after the lights were switched off.

“I asked him to move his hand when he groped me the first time and went back to sleep. He touched me a second time. Then he tried to unbutton my clothes…,” claimed the girl.

The teenager’s father told prosecutors that a policeman accompanied his weeping girl to the arrival waiting area.

A second case emerged besides the molestation case, with A.A. charged [in a separate case] with smuggling and possessing marijuana for consumption purposes.

In the drug case, A.A. was jailed four years. The accused apologised in court for his crime and asked for leniency.

A.A. admitted that he smuggled 1.9g of marijuana, which he confessed was for personal use.

Wednesday’s ruling remains subject to appeal before the Cassation Court within 30 days.