Ex-Penang city councillor ordered to defend himself in molest trial

L. Prem Anand (centre) walks into the Magistrates’ Court in George Town November 29, 2018. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
L. Prem Anand (centre) walks into the Magistrates’ Court in George Town November 29, 2018. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 29 ― L. Prem Anand, 50, who claimed trial to molesting a college student last year, must now prove his innocence after a magistrate ruled there is a prima facie case against him.

In a ruling today, Magistrate Jamaliah Abd Manap said the prosecution had presented sufficient testimony and evidence in court to show the former Penang city councillor could have committed the crime of outraging the modesty of a woman, under Section 354 of the Penal Code.

“You have three options in entering your defence: to give evidence in court, to present a sworn statement or choose to remain silent,” she said at his trial.

Prem Anand’s counsel E. Gnasegaran then told the court that his client will be submitting a sworn statement in his defence.

“We will also be calling in one or two witnesses,” he said.

Prem Anand, who is also a former aide to a DAP assemblyman, is accused of molesting the college student when she was 21 years old at a carpark outside a night club on Beach Street here at about 11.30pm on July 6 last year.

The college student, now 22, cannot be named under the law, to protect the identity of sexual assault victims.

The court was told in the course of the trial so far, that he had groped the student’s genitals and also asked her to perform fellatio on him using either her hand or mouth. When she refused, he masturbated and ejaculated on her.

Prem Anand could be jailed up to 10 years, or whipped, or fine, or face any two of the punishments if convicted.

The trial is set to resume on January 15 next year.

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