Law firm managing partner fined S$15,000 for molesting 3 women in bar
Devandran Karunakaran, 40, the managing partner of law firm Ince Singapore, pleaded guilty to three molestation charges and causing distress to the bar manager.
Intoxicated after having drinks with his clients, Devandran Karunakaran wound up molesting three women — including a disc jockey — in a bar last year.
When the bar manager came over to find out what had happened, Karunakaran hurled vulgarities at him and said he was a lawyer, threatening to get the other man in trouble.
For his actions, the managing partner of law firm Ince Singapore was sentenced to a fine of S$15,000 in a district court on Tuesday (Nov 19).
The 40-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty to three molestation charges and causing distress to the bar manager, with another three charges considered for sentencing.
According to his LinkedIn page, he specialises in shipping finance and used to practise in the firm’s London office.
All of his victims cannot be named due to a court order to protect their identities. They were identified in court documents as:
- Ms H, 48, who works in the sales industry
- Ms P, 28, a DJ in various nightclubs who was working at the bar that evening
- Ms K, 30, who works in the marketing division of a nightclub
- Mr D, 34, the bar manager
‘DON’T TOUCH ME’
The court heard that on May 16 last year, Karunakaran drank alcohol with two clients at Asia Square before going to a bar to continue drinking. The location of the bar was redacted.
Ms H was alone at the bar, while Ms P and Ms K were friends.
At about 11pm, Karunakaran walked towards Ms H and stroked his hands up and down her back and waist. Court documents showed that he did this a total of three times.
Ms H moved away and shouted: “Don’t touch me!” He merely muttered incoherently and walked towards the bar’s upper level.
About half an hour later, Ms P and Ms K were standing near the makeshift DJ stand at the upper level when Karunakaran approached them and stood in between them.
He put his arm on Ms P’s shoulder, then placed his other arm behind the other woman’s back and his hand on her waist. He then said: “Hey! What’s up?”
Ms P tried to shrug his arm off, but he stroked her body from shoulder to waist instead. He made skin-to-skin contact as she was wearing a crop top.
He also used his other hand to stroke Ms K’s body from her waist to her buttock, leaving her feeling shocked and violated.
Ms P immediately moved away and pushed his arm away, then removed her DJ headset and walked away. Ms K also stepped away and waved at another bar employee for help.
When the employee told Karunakaran that his behaviour was unacceptable and asked him to leave the DJ stand, he ignored him and turned to Ms K again, attempting to talk to her and trying to pull her towards him.
Ms K pushed him away again and the employee escorted him away, telling the bartender to inform Mr D — the bar manager — of the situation.
Mr D rushed over and Ms H told him that Karunakaran had molested her thrice that night.
The bar manager confronted Karunakaran about the accusations, and he replied: “F*** you mate, who is the one who say I touched her?”
When Mr D asked him to calm down, Karunakaran replied that he did not do anything, adding: “What are you going to do?”
Karunakaran also said he would not leave when Mr D advised him to finish his drinks and leave the bar.
“He asked Mr D if he knew who he was. He threatened to make Mr D lose his job. He also said he was a lawyer,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Yen Seow told the court.
Sensing that things might escalate, Mr D escorted Karunakaran out of the bar with the help of a security officer. Karunakaran told Mr D: “F*** you mate” at least ten times and insisted on returning to drink some more.
Police officers arrived at about 12.20am and arrested him.
For each molestation charge, he could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, caned, or any combination of the three.
For uttering threatening and abusive words at Mr D with intent to cause distress to him, he could have been fined up to S$5,000, jailed up to six months or both.
Copyright 2019 MediaCorp Pte Ltd | All Rights Reserved