Singapore: Yoga instructor behind bars for 9-months for molesting student

Representational Image arrest
Singapore yoga teacher arrested (Representational picture) Reuters

An Indian-origin yoga teacher was found guilty of molesting his student during a private session at Real Yoga's Tampines Grande studio in April 2015. On Monday, the accused was sentenced to nine months of imprisonment.

Reports stated that the accused, Rakesh Kumar Prasad has to pay a fine of S$1,000 for using criminal force on the victim. After a 12-day trial, the court found him guilty of two criminal charges.

The 26-year-old Rakesh was convicted for putting his hand inappropriately inside the victim's bra, while helping her during a yoga session on April 26, 2015.

The court document stated that the accused grabbed the victim's neck from behind after their session came to an end.

Steven Lam, the lawyer of Rakesh urged for some mercy towards his client and said that the accused has received no less than 50 testimonials within a week, submitted by colleagues, instructors, students and bosses.

In addition to that, he also said these testimonies are evidence of Rakesh's character and showed that he has made some positive impact on the lives of many people.

The lawyer also told the court that because of his past records, people are willing to come forward to attest to his character despite the nature of the charges against him.

The CEO of Real Yoga, Saumik Bera praised Rakesh for his service and putting his heart into the profession. In addition to his comments, Bera also mentioned about Rakesh's clean history.

Later Lam said that the yoga instructor knew the allegations before police arrested him but Rakesh did not attempt to escape from the country.

While the defence lawyer Lam, urged the court for nine months of imprisonment, including S$1,000 as a fine, but James Chew, the Deputy Public Prosecutor argued and sought a 12-month jail term, including three strokes with the cane.

Now Rakesh will appeal against the sentence but as of now, he is out on a bail of S$16,000.

In Singapore, molestation cases are considered under 'Outrage of Modesty' and penalty for such crime is up to two years' jail, a fine and caning. A person can face a jail term up to three months and fine of a maximum of S$1,500, for using criminal force on a victim.

This article was first published on April 2, 2018