He is accused of raping a 12-year-old girl at their first meeting after having exchanged text messages over the phone.
But crane operator Lee Seow Peng, now 39, told the court yesterday that the girl was the one who had sent the suggestive and sexually-charged messages first.
Taking the stand for the first time on the sixth day of his trial, he told Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Peng: "I was merely patronising her... I only chatted with her as a friend."
Lee, who is not represented by a lawyer, is accused of one count each of rape, sexually grooming a minor and attempting to procure the commission of an indecent act by the girl.
He allegedly committed these offences in May and June 2012.
Speaking through a Mandarin interpreter, he denied committing the offences.
He said his wife, who has a 19-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, would leave the teenager with him whenever she returned to her home country.
"If I were such a jerk, I think the first victim would be my daughter," he said.
Lee also recounted his version of what took place on May 29, 2012 - the day of the alleged rape.
He said he could not recall who initiated the meeting that day as they had exchanged many messages.
He added that he texted her after work at around 7.20pm and they agreed to meet that evening. He drove from Hougang to meet her at a bus stop near the Bukit Batok Golf Centre.
He said that after they made their introductions, she entered his multi-purpose vehicle. He suggested that they go for tea at a coffee shop.
But Lee testified that he continued driving as she "didn't want a place nearby".
He decided to go to the Chinese Garden and once there, they walked around the area.
He said they returned to his vehicle at around 8.30pm when the girl "felt pain in her leg".
About 10 minutes later, they went to a nearby fast-food restaurant to buy a burger set each.
After that, Lee said he drove the girl to her home in the western part of Singapore and they reached their destination at around 9.10pm.
He said: "I did not rape her. I have no motives against her. My wife told me: 'You did not do it, face (the charges) bravely'. So, I must live not only for myself, but also for my family."
The trial continues today.
This article was first published on Dec 29, 2015.
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