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Malay Mail

SINGAPORE, Sept 27 — Over the course of a year, a man sexually violated his 11-year-old daughter when their family members were asleep or when they were alone at home.

He began targeting the young girl more often after realising that he could get away with the abuse, since the girl did not dare to call for help.

His wife finally caught him red-handed one evening in October 2020. It then took another four months for another relative to help the girl to make a police report against her father, who was then arrested.

Describing the acts as “vile” and “loathsome”, a High Court judge yesterday sentenced the 40-year-old Singaporean to 20 years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane.

He pleaded guilty to aggravated statutory rape and three other charges of sexual exploitation of a child. Six other charges of the latter offence were taken into consideration for sentencing.

He cannot be named due to a court order to protect his victim’s identity.

His sentence was backdated to February 14, 2021 when he was arrested.

How it began

The court heard that the accused began abusing his daughter in their home from September 2019 onwards, when she was 10 years old. He worked as a technician for rail operator SMRT at the time.

The girl and her brother shared a bedroom with their parents, while some other relatives shared the other bedroom.

On one occasion, their family members were having a routine afternoon nap. The accused approached the sleeping victim and sexually violated her for half an hour.

The girl remained asleep throughout this.

Deputy Public Prosecutors (DPPs) Andre Chong and Grace Chua told the court that this was the first in a series of sexual acts he perpetrated against the girl.

When the family of seven moved to a larger Housing and Development Board flat, the frequency of the man’s sexual abuse increased to as often as once a week.

The girl and her brother shared a room, while their parents, grandparents and uncle occupied the other bedrooms. On several occasions, the two children slept in their parents’ room as well.

Sometime between March and October 2020, the family was sleeping when he raped the girl in his bed. He stopped at times out of fear that his wife, who was asleep in the same room, would wake up and see what was happening.

On another weekend, father and daughter were alone at home when he targeted her once more. She tried to turn away from him but he continued violating her sexually, the court heard.

First found out by wife

On October 5, 2020, he went to the children’s bedroom around midnight and lay beside his daughter on the bed.

She closed her eyes out of fear and pretended to go back to sleep, which did not stop him from violating her for 30 to 45 minutes, the court heard.

At one point, he returned to his bedroom to check if his wife was still asleep. He then went back to his daughter’s room to sexually abuse her some more.

Later, his wife woke up. Upon realising that he was not in their bed, she went to check and found him lying on top of their daughter in the children’s bedroom.

When his wife asked him what he was doing, he lied that the girl had been having a nightmare and he was covering her with a blanket.

She did not believe him and asked the girl what he did. Their daughter then said that he had touched her many times.

Court documents did not state how his wife reacted to this information or whether she went to the authorities.

It was only on February 14 last year, some four months later, that the girl made a police report at Punggol Neighbourhood Police Centre. He was arrested that day.

Nothing short of abhorrent’

yesterday, the prosecution sought 18 to 20 years’ jail along with 12 strokes of the cane, arguing that the man had systematically groomed his daughter and “acted despicably” towards the girl.

“The accused’s exploitation of the victim was nothing short of abhorrent. The sentence to be imposed on the accused must send out a strong deterrent message that society will not, and cannot, tolerate the wanton abuse of a child.”

The prosecution also countered the man’s mitigation plea where he said that he was arrested only after turning himself in to the police.

“It was clear that he did not turn himself in at the earliest opportunity. He was caught red-handed by his wife,” they added.

The man’s lawyer, Ms Sofia Bakhash from law firm Lexcompass LLC, told the court that he had a long history of charity work and was the family’s sole breadwinner before his arrest.

The defence counsel also said that his family wrote a letter in support of his sentencing, asking for leniency.

“His wife is suffering from anxiety because of his actions and he feels incredibly remorseful to put his family through what he has done. He seeks leniency for a shorter term, to come out (of jail) and restore his relationship with his family, and also to assist his wife,” Ms Bakash added.

High Court judge Mavis Chionh noted that the man had tested the waters, then “went on with impunity to increase the severity of his sexual acts”.

“He should have been her protector. Instead, chillingly, he became her abuser, taking advantage of the easy access to her person and the fact that she did not dare to call for help from her family.

“The sexual assault must have been rendered all the more traumatic by the fact that it happened in her own home… just as chilling is the manner of sexual abuse, which escalated over time,” Justice Chionh added.

At the end of the court hearing, a woman believed to be the accused’s wife spoke to him for several minutes, sobbing and asking police officers if she could hug him.

The maximum penalty for rape is 20 years’ jail, as well as caning and fines. — TODAY

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