After seven days of trial, the High Court yesterday found a storeman guilty of raping a woman in his car in Kallang Bahru, rejecting his claim that the sex was consensual.
However, Senior Judge Kan Ting Chiu amended the rape charge against Haliffie Mamat to a less serious one, removing the accusation that he had hurt the woman's hand during the rape.
This means that Haliffie, 24, no longer faces a mandatory sentence of at least eight years' jail and no fewer than 12 strokes of the cane for aggravated rape.
Both rape and aggravated rape carry a maximum of 20 years' jail and caning.
The judge did not give reasons for amending the charge.
Justice Kan also convicted Haliffie of robbing the 34-year-old woman of her handbag and various items inside it. While Haliffie did not deny robbing her, he disputed the contents of the bag.
The court will hear sentencing arguments today. For robbery, Haliffie faces between three and 14 years of jail, and at least 12 strokes of the cane.
During the trial, the court heard that the victim, who had been drinking alone at Clarke Quay, accepted a lift from Haliffie at about 5am on May 4, 2013, after she failed to get a taxi.
The woman, who testified behind closed doors, said she got into his Proton Savvy as she thought Singapore was safe and she had accepted lifts from strangers before.
She said she dozed off and when she woke up, he climbed over to her seat and threw her bag to the back seat. She said that in the ensuing struggle, he grabbed her right forearm and hit the back of her right hand against "something hard" in the car.
She said that as he raped her, he told her: "You can't do anything and just enjoy."
After the rape, he drove off for a short distance, then stopped, opened the door on her side and kicked her out, making off with her bag.
But Haliffie testified that the woman chatted with him in the car. The conversation turned sexual and one thing led to another, he said.
He added that she willingly had unprotected sex with him, and denied kicking her out of the car. His lawyers cast doubt on the woman's claim that a bruise on the back of her hand was caused during the rape, and argued that it could have resulted from her fall out of the car.
This article was first published on May 27, 2015.
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