22 years' jail, 24 strokes of cane for man who molested 11-year-old niece; stopped after wife gave birth
- A Singaporean sexually preyed on his niece, then aged 11, when they stayed in the same flat
- Her parents had divorced when she was younger
- He stopped only when his wife gave birth to a girl
- She confided in her school counsellor three years later, revealing that another relative had also abused her
SINGAPORE — A 34-year-old man was sentenced to 22 years’ jail and the maximum 24 strokes of the cane on Friday (July 15) for committing multiple sexual offences against his niece when she was aged 11.
The girl, whose parents divorced when she was very young, treated him like her older brother. They lived in the same flat with several other relatives.
He stopped sexually assaulting her only when his daughter was born, then asked her to keep quiet about the crimes out of pity for the infant.
The Singaporean man pleaded guilty in the High Court to three counts of aggravated sexual assault by penetration. Four other charges, including statutory rape, were taken into consideration for sentencing.
He cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the identity of his niece, who is now 18 years old.
His sentence was backdated to his arrest on Aug 27, 2018.
Deputy Public Prosecutors (DPPs) Gail Wong and Hidayat Amir told the court that the victim had placed her trust “in a wolf in sheep’s clothing”.
When her parents divorced, she stayed with various relatives before moving into her grandaunt’s flat in 2015. She stayed there with seven others, including the accused — then aged about 28 — and his wife.
She usually slept in the living room on a mattress with her uncles, the court heard.
The accused took her and other family members on outings, treating her like his sister. He also played sports with her and she felt very close to him, similarly thinking of him as her older brother.
OFFERED TO BUY HER THINGS
Several months after she moved to the flat, they played games on her mobile phone in one of the bedrooms. He then touched her inappropriately.
When she tried to end the contact by asking what games they should play, he kissed her on the lips and sexually assaulted her before leaving the room.
He targeted her once more a few weeks later. Some other relatives were elsewhere in the flat when she went to his bedroom to get some clothes after taking a shower.
He locked the door and assaulted her. She remained quiet throughout the ordeal, too shocked and scared to resist him.
He committed several other sexual acts against her before his daughter was born in 2016. The victim was no more than 12 years old at this point.
His family then moved out of the flat.
The victim kept silent because she feared that no one would believe her. She also thought that she would be blamed for her uncle’s actions and was afraid of being chased out of the house.
He told her not to tell anyone or report the incidents, asking her to “feel pity for his daughter”, the DPPs told the court.
The prosecutors added: “The accused also said to the victim that he would buy things for her, and he did give her gifts including a wallet and his old mobile phone.
“At the same time, she wanted to preserve her relationship with the accused whom she still thought of as a good man, thus the victim kept the offences a secret.”
In 2018, the girl’s teacher noticed that her academic performance was declining. They then spoke about the topic of “sexting” before she revealed that her uncle had sexually abused her when she was in Primary 5 and 6.
She also said that another relative had sexually assaulted her.
The school counsellor then took the girl for a medical assessment at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
When hospital staff members informed the police, she was removed from the flat and placed in Gladiolus Place, a non-profit residential home for at-risk teenage girls.
The prosecution sought the sentence imposed, noting that he had been jailed or fined since 2005 for various offences such as theft as well as disobedience under the Civil Defence Act.
The DPPs also told the court that the victim’s impact statement “provides a peek into the untold trauma” that she suffered.
“Despite the cessation of the assaults, the after-effects continued to reverberate years after. The victim continued to have nightmares about the assaults, she now fears her own male friends and harboured suicidal tendencies.Deputy Public Prosecutors Gail Wong and Hidayat Amir”
“Despite the cessation of the assaults, the after-effects continued to reverberate years after. The victim continued to have nightmares about the assaults, she now fears her own male friends and harboured suicidal tendencies,” the prosecutors said.
Those convicted of aggravated sexual assault by penetration can be jailed at least eight years and up to 20 years, and given at least 12 strokes of the cane.