SINGAPORE - Convicted Swiss banker Juerg Buergin, currently in jail for having sex with an underage prostitute, is taking his case to the Court of Appeal to settle a "public interest" issue.
Buergin saw his appeal against conviction dismissed by the High Court earlier this month and is seeking the apex court's ruling on whether he had to have known the girl was underage to be deemed guilty of the offence.
The 41-year-old former UBS executive director was convicted by a district court in April of two charges of paying a 17-year-old for sex and was sentenced to 19 weeks' jail. The two offences occurred in hotels in September 2010 and January 2011.
Criminal case appeals against district court judgments ordinarily end in the High Court. Any further application to the Court of Appeal is only considered when the issues involve interpretation of the law which is of public interest.
The issue of lack of knowledge about the girl's age had been central in his defence, and his appeal to the High Court was the first among 51 cases involving the same girl to be tested on appeal.
Buergin claims he asked for her identification but she showed him her older sister's identity card. The district court found that Buergin did not know the girl was underage.
Buergin's lawyer, Mr Selva K. Naidu, who visited him at Admiralty West Prison on Thursday, said he was instructed to take the case to the Court of Appeal as a "question of law of public interest".
The move comes in the wake of High Court judgment grounds released on Thursday, explaining why Buergin's appeal was dismissed.
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