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Body contact ‘gesture of friendship’, court told in indecent assault trial

26 March 2018

An Italian restaurant executive accused of indecent assault by a Filipina customer did not intend to commit the alleged offence, the defendant’s lawyer told Eastern Court on Mar. 9.

The lawyer argued that body contact is not unusual in Italian restaurants as it is a “gesture of friendship”.

He was summing up the case for his client, Marco Bianchi, on the second of a two-day trial before Magistrate Li Chi-ho. The court reserved judgment until Mar. 28.

Bianchi faced one charge each of indecent assault for allegedly touching the Filipina, identified only as “Miss X”, in the buttock; and common assault for bumping her.

The defendant denied both charges.

The alleged incident happened in October last year at Level 2 restaurant, where Bianchi was said to be a manager.

He reportedly followed the woman as she was leaving the restaurant, then drew close to give her a hug. In doing so, his hand apparently touched the woman’s top left hip.

According to the defense, both acts were unintentional, and body contact is not unusual in Italian restaurants.

 “It is not indecent because it is a gesture of friendship,” the defense lawyer said.

As for the accusation that the defendant had touched Miss X’s buttock, the lawyer said due to Bianchi’s height (he was about 6ft tall and has long arms) he may have unintentionally touched her left hip.

Miss X gave evidence on the first day of the trial. A CCTV footage of the incident was played back in court but the defense said it did not show the alleged touching.   – VB Lumicao
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