SINGAPORE - The molestation case against veteran athletics coach Loh Siang Piow concluded on Tuesday (Dec 21) with the 77-year-old one of two who took the stand.
The case had returned to the district court on Monday, some 18 months after Loh was convicted and then sentenced to 21 months' jail, as District Judge Marvin Bay heard additional evidence from a witness who stepped forward after reading news of his conviction.
The witness, former athlete Amelia Monteiro, shared testimony which supported Loh's claim that police investigation officer Goh Teck Heng had told him the names of his accusers in a phone call on July 31, 2016.
Ms Monteiro, 27, said on the stand that she was physically beside Loh when he received the aforementioned phone call.
But on Tuesday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Gail Wong pointed out that throughout the trial that began in 2018, Loh had never brought up Ms Monteiro's name.
In response, he said: "There were many people by my side (then)."
DPP Wong then suggested that the additional evidence of Ms Monteiro's presence was "an afterthought" and said she was in fact not present during the call, which drew quick responses of disagreement from Loh.
His lawyer Tan Chee Meng then voiced his objection to the line of questioning, pointing out that such suggestions should have instead been put to Ms Monteiro when she took the stand.
DPP Wong went on to highlight differences in Ms Monteiro's and Loh's recollections of the call.
Ms Monteiro had given evidence that Loh had uttered the accusers' names as he was on the phone, which Loh's evidence did not reflect.
In addition, Loh had given evidence that he had told Mr Goh he would not go down to the police station unless the identities of the accusers were made known to him, but this exchange was not recounted in Ms Monteiro's version of events.
The other witness who took the stand on Tuesday was Mr Nelson Tan, the event operation manager for national track and field body Singapore Athletics (SA). Mr Tan was the competition director for the meet that Loh and Ms Monteiro were stated to be at during the phone call in 2016.
Despite the gravity of the case and at-times tense exchanges, there was a brief light-hearted moment in the court when District Judge Bay asked Loh why he had asked Ms Monteiro to place a bet for the Toto draw shortly after receiving the phone call from the police, as was stated in her statutory declaration.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.