TENOM, May 20 — A witness told the Magistrates’ Court here today that preacher Ebit Irawan Ibrahim Lew, also known as Ebit Lew, had once made a video call to her while shirtless.

The woman, in her 40s, who is the complainant and the prosecution’s ninth witness in Ebit Lew’s sexual harassment trial, said that was the first time the preacher had made a video call, following almost three weeks of communication via texts and voice calls.

During examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Zahida Zakaria, the witness, however, said she declined to accept the video call made on March 22, 2021 at 11.35am.

“He kept calling, and I kept rejecting the calls. In his text, he asked why I wasn’t answering and said, ‘this isn’t fair,’ I remember that he was shirtless when he made that video call,” she testified.

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Earlier, she told the court that Ebit Lew had texted and called her a day after she had given him her number via Instagram on March 3, 2021.

During the 291-second call (four minutes and 51 seconds), she recognised Ebit Lew’s voice from his social media posts, talks and live broadcasts.

“I recall him inquiring about me and my family, my job and the problems I was facing. I was interested in his programme and shared details about my family and issues,” she said.

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From then until March 29, 2021, she said Ebit Lew frequently sent WhatsApp messages and made phone calls, gradually becoming more sexually explicit in his texts.

Earlier, Zahida referred to a document from Celcom, containing subscriber information and call details, to verify any calls made from Ebit Lew’s phone number to the witness.

During today’s proceedings, the prosecution submitted the Digital Forensic Case Report by Cyber Security Malaysia, which included the message exchanges between the witness and Ebit Lew.

Ebit Lew, 38, faces 11 charges, including outraging the modesty of a woman in her 40s by sending obscene words and images to the victim’s phone number via the WhatsApp application between March and June 2021.

The charges under Section 509 of the Penal Code provide a prison sentence of up to five years or a fine or both if convicted.

The trial continues tomorrow. — Bernama