A 52-year-old "faith healer" who molested a teenage girl during an exorcism started serving his one-year jail term yesterday after he lost his appeal to the High Court against his conviction and sentence.
The lawyer for Mohamed Said Mohamed Sani argued that the prosecution had failed to call an expert witness to testify on the different levels of consciousness a person can experience while possessed by spirits.
Mr Wendell Wong pointed out that his client's 17-year-old accuser had testified that she was possessed at the time and had no control over her arms or speech, but was fully conscious.
The teenager had said it was why she did not scream when she was molested or stop Mohamed Said from touching her.
Mr Wong argued that an expert should have been called on whether it was possible for her to be in such a state.
But Justice Tay Yong Kwang disagreed. "Like all matters of faith, it's almost impossible to quantify, isn't it?" he said.
The judge said he did not think anybody would be able to say for sure it was impossible for the girl to be in the state of consciousness she claimed.
Justice Tay said the issue was whether the girl was to be believed. He concluded that, on the evidence, the district judge had made the right decision.
Mohamed Said, a technical officer who treats people with "spiritual disturbances", carried out an exorcism on the girl at her uncle's flat in June 2011. At the session, he told her mother to sit facing the wall and not turn around. The girl was blindfolded and sat behind her mother.
She testified that after he started chanting, she felt spirits entering her; she was conscious but unable to control her hands.
She said she felt him touch her breasts under her T-shirt and bra. He unbuttoned her jeans and tried to slip his hand under her panties, she said.
She managed to get to her knees and hit her mother's back with her head, but he pushed her back to a sitting position. He then called her other family members into the room and continued with the ceremony.
The girl later told her mother what happened, but the woman told her it was all right. Two days later, when her mother told her to continue with the treatment, she confided in an aunt, who encouraged her to make a police report.
This article was first published on April 29, 2015.
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