TENOM: The trial of the sexual harassment case involving Ebit Irawan Ibrahim Lew, or Ebit Lew, began today at the Magistrate’s Court here, with a motivational expert who helped a victim of sexual harassment involving the celebrity preacher taking the witness stand.

Mohd Fairuz Abu, 37, told the court he was contacted by a woman using a pseudonym via the WhatsApp application after he uploaded a post about a preacher involved in a case of sexual harassment with a woman on Facebook on July 26 last year.

“In the beginning, she did not introduce herself and mention her name. She asked me who was the individual (preacher) I was referring to in the post.

“When I mentioned that it was related to Ebit Lew, the woman shared with me screenshots of Ebit Lew’s conversation with her, as well as pornographic images (of genitals) sent by Ebit via WhatsApp,“ he said in front of Magistrate Nur Asyraf Zolhani in response to questions from Deputy Public Prosecutor Zahida Zakaria.

Mohd Fairuz said he also sent the screenshots shared by the woman to a man named Firdaus Wong, who he said was handling a similar case involving the accused with another woman.

When Zahida asked Mohd Fairuz what action he took after sending the screenshots to Wong, the witness said that on July 27, 2021, he contacted the woman via a phone call to listen to the full chronology of events with regard to the harassment.

“In the beginning, she was scared and felt insecure to share. However, after I calmed her down, she shared everything from ‘A-Z’ (from beginning to end).

“I suggested to the woman to lodge a police report, but she was afraid and said: ‘I’m just a small person. Ebit Lew is a big personality. So, I don’t want to lodge a report”,“ he said.

After he made the suggestion, Mohd Fairuz said the woman asked for some time to discuss it with her husband, and that she finally lodged a police report on Aug 7, 2021.

Mohd Fairuz said he had personally met with the woman and was able to identify her in court.

The witness also recognised Lew, who was sitting on the witness stand.

Lew, 37, faces 11 charges, among which he is accused of insulting the modesty of a woman in her 40s by sending obscene words to the victim’s phone number via the WhatsApp application between March and June last year.

The offence under Section 509 of the Penal Code provides for a prison sentence of up to five years or a fine or both if convicted.-Bernama