KAJANG: A 33-year-old lawyer has claimed trial to two molest charges involving two university students at a Bandar Sungai Long condominium last week.
Clad in a white shirt and slacks, Michael Anthony pleaded not guilty when the charges were read out to him at the magistrate's court here, Tuesday.
He was charged under Section 354 of the Penal Code for assault or use of criminal force on a person with intent to outrage modesty, where he allegedly touched the buttocks of Cristal Chua, 22.
The other charge was under Section 511 of the Penal Code for attempting to commit the same offence on 20-year-old Tammy Ong.
Both incidents were alleged to have happened at about 3.30pm on Nov 1.
During mitigation, defence counsel Datuk Jerald Gomez said the proposed bail set at RM12,000 for both charges was excessive as the accused has a clean record.
"The accused has never before been arrested or charged for any offence. He is a happily married man with a clean record," he said.
He also argued that the complainants had resorted to "trial by the media" by posting video clips, homemade videos and had given interviews to the press even before the police completed their investigation.
Gomez further argued that based on the police report, there was no allegation of violence used or injury sustained by the complainant.
"Secondly, the complainant was unaware that she was being touched by the Indian man, until she turned around and saw an Indian man behind her," he said.
According to him, the accused had also voluntarily gone to the police upon being notified, and did not turn himself in as widely reported.
"The accused did what any law-abiding citizen would do and that is to go to the police station voluntarily and cooperate with the police," he said.
Gomez then requested the court to order the complainants not to publish any evidence relating to the case on social media as the accused has not even faced trial.
"The accused has not been proven guilty, but the trial by media has not given him a chance to tell his side of the story. Damage has already been done to his life and career," he said.
Magistrate Fadzilatul Isma Ahmad Refngah then set bail for the two charges at RM4,000 and RM3,800 respectively, with one surety.
She also agreed to order the complainants not to publish any material relating to the case on the Internet.
The case has been set for mention on Dec 9.