SINGAPORE, Nov 18 — Former Singapore Idol judge Ken Lim Chih Chiang is set to go through five separate trials for five of his alleged victims after a district judge ruled in favour of the defence to reject an application made by the prosecution to combine six of the seven charges into one single charge.

The 59-year-old is set to contest one charge for allegedly using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a person and six charges for purportedly insulting the modesty of a woman by words, sound or gesture.

The charges are for purported offences committed against five female victims who cannot be named under a court order to protect their identities.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Gail Wong made an application for all seven charges to be heard in a joint trial.

She said that the alleged offences committed by Lim were similar — his charges all relate to a sexual offence and were purportedly committed against women whom he was engaging for work.

The charges share a “common thread”, in the way Lim had either offered himself to each of them as a potential sexual partner or had made sexual contact with one of the victims, DPP Wong added.

“The accused’s case is no different from a person facing many cheating charges and the evidence on the charges must be fully examined on its merits,” she said.

Objecting to the application, defence counsel Tan Chee Meng argued that the charges against his client bore no factual similarity with each other and there was no suggestion that any of the victims were related to or knew each other.

None of the alleged offences overlapped in time, while the locations where they were supposedly committed were inconsistent, Tan added.

Furthermore, the description of the acts allegedly carried out by Lim were different.

Tan also said that a joint trial would be prejudicial to Lim because it will generate significant difficulties for Lim in preparing and presenting his defence.

“Justice hurried is justice buried,” Tan said.

“We feel that there should be a proper and fair trial. If he has to go to five trials, then let it go to five trials.”

In delivering her decision to rule in favour of the defence to not grant the prosecution’s application, District Judge Wong Peck said that there will be no practical benefits of a joint trial because the first charge do not have any relation with the rest of the charges.

She added that a joint trial would be prejudicial since the victims do not know each other. — TODAY