SINGAPORE: A 71-year-old man who is accused of sexually harassing and slapping another man on the MRT hopes to apologise to the victim in person, the State Court heard on Friday (Apr 27).
Gan Thean Soo’s lawyer said during a mitigation plea that the business development manager hopes he will be given an opportunity to do so.
On Apr 19 last year, Gan had gone up to 25-year-old American Joseph Flynn De Marini on an MRT train and asked him to have sex with him.
Gan, who was heading home after having drinks at Chinatown, had told Mr De Marini: “I like you. I am gay.” He then prepositioned the American, who was with a female friend.
According to court documents, he suddenly leaned towards Mr De Marini, before slapping him. Mr De Marini did not retaliate. A video of the incident was uploaded online by Mr De Marini, and shared widely.
Gan admitted to harassment and assault charges last week.
On Friday, the court heard that Gan was referred to the Institute of Mental Health after the incident to attend alcohol and psychological treatments four times a week. His lawyer Philip Loh said that while Gan was allowed to stop his alcohol treatments, he did not continue with the psychological treatments due to financial strain.
The twice-weekly appointments cost more than S$80 each time, the court heard. It is also difficult for Gan, who supervises 30 sales representatives, to get time off to attend the sessions, the court heard.
Mr Loh added that since the incident, Gan has cut down on his alcohol intake and only drinks socially.
GAN TOOK ALCOHOL TO "DROWN SORROWS"
In mitigation, Mr Loh also painted the picture of a man who does not have the support of his family. Gan fell out with his two children, a son and a daughter, sometime between 2004 and 2006, he said.
This was after he had to sell off a landed home on Binchang Rise in Bishan, which was then worth S$2 million, to pay off a loan after he was cheated by a friend. The house is now worth S$5.4 million, Mr Loh added.
“Both of them blamed him for his foolishness,” Mr Loh said. His children then distanced themselves, and Gan took to drinking to “drown his sorrows”, the court heard. Mr Loh said that Gan is willing to cut out alcohol totally “if need be”.
Gan last saw his son in February last year at a funeral, and has no contact with his daughter, who has two children.
“He sincerely wishes to address this issue thoroughly and pragmatically so as not to repeat his offences in future,” Mr Loh said.
District Judge May Mesenas, who adjourned the sentencing hearing to June pending a report on Gan’s suitability for community-based sentencing, asked Gan to follow up with his treatments to get a “sensing of his willingness to fix the problem”.
Such sentencing, which includes mandatory treatment orders, are meant for those who are not habitual offenders to be rehabilitated while remaining in the community,
If Mr De Marini agrees, a victim-offender conference in which Gan will be able to apologise to him is expected to take place next month.
For voluntarily causing hurt, Gan could be jailed for up to two years and fined up to S$5,000.