A University of Hong Kong associate professor grabbed a female student's hand and forced her to touch him when she went to his office asking for help, a court heard yesterday. Terence Shortall, 53, from the faculty of education, touched her lower back and moved down after they sat down at a computer in his office to type a letter, the student, 21, told Eastern Court. She said she pushed his hand away several times. He kissed her and she told him no. Later Shortall grabbed her hand and placed it on his groin. This happened several times, the last time after he undid his zipper. The woman was testifying on the first day of Shortall's trial. He is facing two counts of indecent assault for incidents that allegedly occurred with the student on May 5 and another woman on May 11 in his office in the university's Hui Oi Chow Science Building. The student was due to complete her second year at the faculty this summer. She has been facing academic problems and a faculty review committee will decide today whether she will continue her studies. The woman said she went to Shortall, the programme director, because she believed he would help her, even though he had never taught her and they had never spoken before. They agreed to meet, and she arrived at his office at 3pm on May 5. They sat at the computer to type an intercession letter to the board of education. Shortall dictated while she typed, the woman said. She did not say anything when Shortall first placed his hand on her because she 'thought foreigners might be more intimate and that it might have been a question of culture'. After the incident, she told another woman, the victim of Shortall's alleged second assault on May 11, she said. John Hemmings, representing Shortall, questioned inconsistencies in the three statements the student gave police, saying she did not mention seeing Shortall's genitals or telling the other woman about her alleged assault in the first statement. 'I was too emotional and everything was chaotic at the time,' the woman said. Mr Hemmings also raised questions about a paper that she was to complete for a course, saying she had lied to several people, including Shortall, about handing it in. Shortall continues to work at the university. The trial continues today before Magistrate William Lam Kui-po.