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Elderly employer jailed for indecent assault on maid

22 April 2016

An elderly employer was acquitted at the High Court yesterday, Apr 21, of a charge of raping his Filipino domestic helper two years ago. However, he was jailed for two and a half months after being found guilty of a separate charge of indecent assault on her. A third charge of indecent assault was also dismissed.
Guilty of indecent assault but not of rape
The split verdict in the case of 65-year-old Lee Man-biu, who owned a toy factory in the mainland, came after more than 10 hours of deliberation by a jury made up of two men and five men.
The jury returned unanimous verdicts on all three charges, one for rape and two for indecent assault, after a trial that was originally set to last for six days but stretched to eight and a half days.
Among those who testified were Lee and the victim, a 48-year-old mother of two, as well as two police witnesses.
Justice Esther Toh commended the jurors “for returning a difficult verdict” after spending the night in the courthouse to continue their deliberations.
The first indecent assault charge involved an incident in Mar 2014 when the maid was in the kitchen and Lee allegedly grabbed her breasts. She said she managed to film the  assault but Lee grabbed her cell phone and deleted the video.
Lee was acquitted of that charge.
However, he was convicted of a second charge of indecent assault which took place in the morning of Oct 13, 2014. In this case, Lee was found to have grabbed the woman’s breasts while she was cleaning the living room, and dragged her to the bedroom.
Lee reportedly warned the victim that he would throw her out the window if she told anyone about the assault.
He repeated the warning when he allegedly raped her on the night of the same day. However, the charge of rape was dismissed by the jury.
During cross examination, the defense lawyer suggested that Lee and the maid had consensual sex, but the victim vehemently denied this.
She also said she used to be scared every time Lee’s wife and daughter would go to China because the employer would assault her indecently “almost everyday”, and would hit her in the head if he was angry.
But during cross examination, it was revealed that the woman had lent $5,000 to Lee at one point. She also admitted keeping $60,000 in her room, money that she meant to take home. – Vir B. Lumicao




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