Personal trainer on trial for molesting woman during massage at country club

Wan Ting Koh
·Senior Reporter
·2 min read
A woman running on a treadmill.
A woman running on a treadmill. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A personal trainer claimed trial on Wednesday (3 March) to molesting a female client whom he was training at a gym at Singapore Island Country Club.

Haji Muhammad Faisal Johar, 45, was giving the woman, now 23, a massage in the gym's staff locker room when he allegedly committed the offences.

He faces two charges of molest, one of touching and pressing the alleged victim's breasts over her bra and one of touching her vaginal area several times. Both alleged offences occurred around 5pm on 7 February 2018. The woman filed a police report in January 2019.

The woman, who works in a bank, cannot be named due to a gag order.

Opening the prosecution's case, Deputy Public Prosecutor Derek Ee said that the woman had agreed to let him massage her body after a personal training gym session. However, under the pretext of a sports massage, Haji had molested the woman.

The woman then took the stand to testify that she engaged Haji in October 2016, when she first texted him to start personal training with him.

She came to know him as she would go to the gym with her family and the trainers, including Haji, would be helpful while she was there. As her father was a member of the club, the woman had been using its facilities there since she was a child and she eventually began using the gym once or twice weekly.

She decided to engage Haji as she "wanted a professional opinion on how to better (herself) in terms of achieving fitness goals and having professional help rather than just try on (her) own random equipment," she told District Judge Prem Raj.

Typically, she would tell Haji which muscle she wanted to work on and Haji would give suggestions.

She would usually start with a treadmill or an elliptical machine to warm her body up before starting exercises targetted at specific muscle groups, then moving on to strength training.

Asked about her relationship with Haji throughout the two years, the woman said, "It was a client-trainer relationship as I said, a professional service provider and an elder I respected to better myself... I was his client for two years, there was rapport and I thought of him as a friend as well."

As a friend, the woman would have "cordial conversation" with Haji over mundane topics, such as stress over examinations or his family.

She testified that he would make "cheeky" jokes, for instance, asking her if she had plans over the weekend and asking her out on a date.

The trial continues.

If convicted of molest, the man faces up to two years' jail, and/or a fine and/or caning.

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