SAF Lieutenant Colonel accused of engaging underage prostitute claims trial
A Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Lieutenant Colonel accused of having paid sex with an underage prostitute in 2011 has claimed trial.
By Leong Wai Kit
POSTED: 17 Apr 2013 4:26 PM
SINGAPORE: A Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Lieutenant Colonel accused of having paid sex with an underage prostitute in 2011 has claimed trial.
Emlyn Thomas Thariyan, 37, is one of 51 men to be charged with having commercial sex with the minor. He is the third man to contest the charges, following Swiss national Juerg Buergin and business consultant Edward Whistler Goh.
District Judge Eugene Teo ordered that part of the trial on Wednesday be held in camera or in chambers.
This follows the prosecution's application that the girl, a vulnerable witness, should give evidence in closed court.
They said that online forums have published information pertaining to her identity despite gag orders issued by the court.
They argued that she is "susceptible to emotional injury", adding that she is a victim of a sexual crime.
The prosecution pointed out while it was a fact that the girl was a "social escort", she was only 17 at the time of the events.
Thariyan's defence lawyer however strongly objected to the in camera application, arguing that under the Women's Charter, this applies to those under 16.
The girl is now 20.
However the judge, who has discretion in granting such applications, agreed with the prosecution.
The court on Tuesday heard evidence from witnesses including representatives from SingTel, Hotel 81, as well as an officer from the Technology Crime Forensic Branch.
The trial continues.