KOTA KINABALU: Celebrity preacher Ebit Lew, who claimed trial at the Tenom interior court to 11 charges, including sexual harassment, claims he was taken aback by the court case as he was here for charity work.
“I am shocked because we are here to do charity work, not to go to court,” Ebit, 37, told reporters outside the Tenom district office after he was charged yesterday at the circuit court.
He said he was only informed about the allegations against him a few days ago.
However, he said he took this as a test from God.
“This will not bring me down or stop me from carrying out community work here,” he added.
His lawyer Mohamed Zairi Zainal Abidin said the court has fixed April 20 to 23 for mention and the hearing will be held sometime in June.
Ebit, whose full name is Ebit Irawan Ibrahim Lew, 38, is accused of, among others, sending lewd text messages and photos via WhatsApp to a woman between March and June 2021.
Earlier, a huge presence of police had been placed to monitor security at the Tenom district office after word got out that Ebit would be charged.
Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Abd Jalil Hassan said they had received three police reports against Ebit in connection with alleged sexual harassment.
He said the reports were investigated under Section 509 of the Penal Code for outraging of modesty, Section 14 of Minor Offences Act and Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act.
He said the reports were lodged by two women – one in Tenom and another in Peninsular Malaysia.
“We have investigated all angles regarding this case, including the possibility of slander. However, we have collected solid evidence which culminated with the prosecution today,” he told a press conference in Tenom.
He also urged the public to not speculate or add provocation to the case throughout the trial.
As to whether there were more cases linked to the 11 charges being looked at, Abd Jalil said this would only be known at the end of the trial here.
On Oct 1 last year, the preacher and his wife were called up by police due to sexual harassment claims against him.
Videos and messages purportedly by Ebit were spread on Telegram several months ago.
In the videos, a man could be seen performing indecent acts on camera.