Man who sexually assaulted step-niece gets 18 years’ jail, 24 strokes of cane


The 39-year-old man pleaded guilty to two charges of aggravated sexual assault by penetration and one charge of outrage of modesty. - ST FILE

SINGAPORE: A woman who was sexually exploited by her step-uncle as a teenager broke her silence about it several years later, after she spotted the man in public while she was with her husband and in-laws.

On Thursday (April 18), the 39-year-old man, who is the younger brother of her stepmother, was sentenced to 18 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane by the High Court.

He had pleaded guilty to two charges of aggravated sexual assault by penetration and one charge of outrage of modesty.

Another eight charges for various sexual offences, including sexual penetration of a minor, were taken into consideration.

The man cannot be named because of a gag order to protect the identity of the victim, who is now 27 years old.

She was 13 years old when he began committing sexual acts on her.

In 2010, they moved together with their families to live in a maisonette flat. The victim and her sister shared a room on the second level, while the man’s room was on the first level.

That year, the perpetrator, who was then 26 years old, began entering the victim’s room at night while she and her sister were sleeping.

On the first occasion, he laid on the bed next to the victim and touched her sexually.

Within a year after this first incident, the man began to commit more intrusive acts against the victim after creeping into her room.

These sexual acts continued to occur around three times a week.

Prosecutors told the court that the victim eventually began initiating some sexual acts with the man.

She “struggled between being increasingly aware that what they were doing was wrong and thinking that they had mutual feelings for each other”, said deputy public prosecutors Lee Zu Zhao and June Ngian.

The victim and the man subsequently had consensual sex between November 2013 and 2017.

She did not contact him after she moved out of the maisonette flat in 2018 and got married in November that year.

On New Year’s Eve in 2019, the victim and her husband were out for a meal with her in-laws when she spotted her step-uncle at the restaurant.

She was in low spirits after seeing the man, and ended the meal early.

Back home, she broke down, and after a discussion with her husband, she made a police report against her step-uncle.

The perpetrator was detained at the Woodlands checkpoint on Jan 3, 2020, while he was on his way to Johor Baru on a family trip.

He had initially contested all 11 charges, but during the trial, he decided to plead guilty before the victim took the stand.

The victim was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after she was examined at the Institute of Mental Health on April 3, 2020.

The prosecution sought 18 to 20 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane for the culprit, saying that he had systematically groomed the victim so that she would be more amenable to future sexual acts.

The man’s lawyer, Gino Hardial Singh, asked for 10½ years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane, saying that credit must be given to him for pleading guilty and sparing the victim the trauma of testifying at trial. - The StraitS Times/ANN

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