Man delays plea, turns 21, gets heavier sentence

Man delays plea, turns 21, gets heavier sentence
PHOTO: The Straits Times

When he pleaded guilty to rape and other charges last year, he could have been sentenced to reformative training instead of jail and caning because he was below 21 years old.

A month later, the full-time national serviceman retracted his plea. He later changed his mind and decided to plead guilty after all.

When he did so in court yesterday, he had turned 21 and was no longer eligible for reformative training.

He was jailed for 13 years and ordered to receive 12 strokes of the cane for one count each of rape, criminal intimidation, voluntarily causing hurt and wrongful confinement, all involving a 13-year-old girl, and three counts of having consensual sex with three other underage girls.

Eight other charges - seven counts of having consensual sex with the three minors and one count of theft - were taken into consideration during sentencing.

The man cannot be named to protect his victims' identities.

The court heard that between October 2012 and December 2013, he had unprotected sex with the three underage girls, two of whom were 14 and the third just 13.

He got to know his rape victim through a mutual friend on May 20, 2013. The group hung out at a Toa Payoh billiards centre and went home around 8am the next day.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao told Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Peng yesterday that the girl shared a taxi with the accused.

He convinced her to go to his flat by concocting a story about passing her some money for a mutual friend.

When they got to his home around 9am, he asked the girl to sit on a bed in the living room and later asked her if she would have sex with him in exchange for an undisclosed amount of money.

When she refused, he pinned her down on the bed. As she struggled, he said he was just joking and released his grip.

The terrified girl tried to escape when he went to the kitchen but realised the front door was locked.

When he pinned her down again, she started screaming. He tried in vain to gag her mouth with sticky tape.

He then whacked her head with his fist before threatening to hurt her with a knife unless she gave in to his demands. In tears, the girl relented as she felt there was no other alternative.

He then raped her without using a condom.

After leaving his home, she called a friend about her ordeal. The friend informed the victim's mother, who took her to make a police report.

The man was arrested on Jan 27 last year.

Then 20, he admitted to the offences last Sept 5 and was found to be fit for reformative training.

Those sentenced to reformative training must spend 18 months to three years in a reformative training centre and undergo a strict regimen that includes foot drills and counselling.

Shortly before he was due to be sentenced last October, he disputed some points in his statement of facts and Justice Choo Han Teck rejected his plea of guilt.

His lawyer, Mr Anand Nalachandran, told The New Paper yesterday that he had advised his client about the consequences of his actions but the man still wanted to retract his plea.

"An accused person has the right to decide whether or not to plead guilty," he said.

When the case was in the pre-trial conference stage, he decided to plead guilty again.

For raping the girl, on top of the minimum 12 strokes, he could have been jailed up to 20 years

ashaffiq@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on March 07, 2015.
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