A fifty-year-old education officer has been sentenced to serve 10 years in jail after pleading guilty to raping his pupil.
In his verdict at the High Court Tuesday, Justice Dato Paduka Steven Chong said that a substantial starting point was justified in view of the aggravating factors, namely the violation of trust as a teacher; the wide age gap; the defendant preying on the youth and immaturity of the victim and grooming her for sex by showing her adult films and buying her gifts; and the repetition of sexual acts over a period of time.
"Parents have every right to expect that their children will be in safe hands. When that trust is violated by a teacher who exploits the vulnerability of a student because of her immaturity by having sex with her, a severe sentence is necessary to punish, deter and reflect public outrage," said Justice Chong.
The judge went on to say that the defence counsel's submission that the defendant and the victim were "lovers" and were both "attracted" to each other, was not a mitigating factor.
He added that the defendant, being a senior master and aged nearly 50 then, and married with six children had a position of responsibility for the victim who was only 13 and a student. The court said that while the victim consented to sex, it was irrelevant for the purpose of sentencing.
"The primary objective of the law is the protection of young girls who may not have the experience or the maturity to make decisions in their own best interest about their own sexuality," said Justice Chong.
The victim, Miss X, was the defendant's student at the school in Tutong sometime between 2012 and 2013 when the offences were committed. Sometime on November 2012, the defendant invited Miss X to come to his room and show her an adult video.
He asked Miss X if she wanted "to do as in the adult video" to which the victim refused. The defendant and Miss X had their first sexual intercourse in his room sometime in May 2013. The victim initially refused but they eventually had sex as Miss X was scared and did not fight back due to fatigue of a day at school and badminton practice.
Since then, the defendant had sexual intercourse on a consensual basis with Miss X on two other occasions at the school's premises. The defendant also gave gifts to Miss X such as sport shirts and top-up card. Investigations revealed that the defendant only met Miss X for the purpose of having sex with her.