SHAH ALAM - For two years, a seven-year-old girl was repeatedly raped by her stepbrother while she stayed with her father and his new wife at their home in Klang.
A High Court here awarded her RM200,000 (S$74,156) in damages in a negligence suit brought by her mother against the couple.
Her 34-year-old mother said she was very happy over the award, saying that her daughter had been traumatised by the rape.
"She cried when I told her the news. It has been difficult for her," the self-employed woman told reporters here yesterday.
In his ruling on Friday, Justice Hashim Hamzah ordered the girl's father and her stepmother to pay them RM150,000 in general damages and another RM50,000 in exemplary damages.
He also ordered the couple to pay RM20,000 in costs.
According to the statement of claim, the girl, who will turn 12 next month, said she had been staying with her father in Klang after her parents' divorce in 2007.
She said she was repeatedly raped by her stepbrother when they were staying together at the house from 2010 to May 2012. She only complained to her mother in June 2013.
Her mother subsequently lodged a police report against the stepbrother who was arrested in July 2013 and produced in the Klang's Court for Children.
The youth, who turned 18 this year, was released on a three-year good behaviour bond after admitting to the rape in 2014.
In their civil claim filed on March 10, 2014, the girl said she had suffered and was under stress, adding that her future was ruined and that she had to start anew elsewhere to avoid insults from her neighbours and friends.
Naming her 59-year-old father, a businessman, and his 52-year-old wife as defendants, they claimed that the couple had failed to take care of her safety and welfare, and be responsible guardians.
In their statement of defence, the couple said the girl had never complained or displayed any extraordinary reaction or behaviour during her stay.
The couple also denied negligence and claimed to have no knowledge over her claims.
Speaking to reporters here yesterday, lawyer Hazizah Kassim said her client was warded at the Klang Hospital for 21 days for inspection and treatment over the rape as well as being among the five witnesses who testified during the trial.
The couple's lawyer P. Visnuvarman said he would appeal against the court judgment.