Singapore

Court dismisses diplomat's bid to suspend jail term

The High Court yesterday rejected a bid by a Saudi Arabian diplomat, who groped a 20-year-old intern at a Sentosa hotel while he was here on holiday with his family, to be released from prison pending a hearing before the Court of Appeal in January.

Bander Yahya A. Alzahrani, 40, was found guilty of aggravated molestation and using criminal force.

He was sentenced to 26 months and a week in jail with four strokes of the cane in February, after an eight-day trial.

But prison doctors have since found him "temporarily unfit for caning" due to a medical condition, it emerged in court yesterday.

Alzahrani's appeal against both the conviction and sentence was dismissed by the High Court on July 21.

He started serving his jail term on Aug 11, after the court rejected his third attempt to defer his sentence.

On Sept 29, he filed a criminal motion to stay his sentence, pending the outcome of his application, which is scheduled to be heard before the apex court in January.

He argued that if he ultimately succeeds in the criminal reference and is acquitted, he would have unnecessarily served a substantial part of the jail term.- THE STRAITS TIMES

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