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SINGAPORE: A 26-year-old man sent his wife’s 12-year-old half-sister sexually explicit text messages before inviting the girl over to his flat, where he raped her.

The girl “did everything in her power to say no”, including telling the offender that she was having a “mental crisis” after his repeated requests for sex, said the prosecution.

The man was jailed 10 years and sentenced to six strokes of the cane on Tuesday (Apr 12) after pleading guilty at the High Court to one count of rape committed in February 2020.

Another nine charges, including charges of sexual assault and sexual communication with a minor, were also considered for sentencing.

The man was also sentenced to three weeks’ jail for an unrelated charge of cheating a Carousell buyer of S$200 for Universal Studios Singapore tickets in 2016. The sentences are to run consecutively.

He was previously given a four-month conditional warning for the cheating offence, but reoffended by committing the rape during that time.

The offender cannot be named as it could lead to identification of the victim of the rape, whose identity is protected by gag order.

PAIR HAD NEVER MET ALONE BEFORE

The court heard that the victim got to know the offender in 2011, when he started dating her half-sister. The couple married in August 2019.

The victim lived with her grandparents and aunts, as her father was in prison and her mother did not take care of her. The offender, a food delivery rider at the time, lived with his wife.

The offender and victim had never met alone prior to the rape, and only made small talk at family gatherings. He started sending her text messages towards the end of 2019, such as to ask her about her exam results.

He first invited the victim to visit his flat at the end of January 2020, but she declined. He invited her over again on Feb 19, 2020, and she accepted. The rape happened on this occasion.

That afternoon, the offender sent the girl several sexualised messages.

He made explicit overtures to her and she said no repeatedly, giving an “adamant, explicit refusal”, said the prosecution. However, he persisted and continued to send her messages until she agreed to go to his house.

MAN CONTINUED TO TEXT VICTIM AFTER RAPE

After the girl reached the offender’s flat, both sat on the sofa using their phones for a while. The man sent her a sexually explicit image and asked if she wanted to watch porn, which the girl refused.

He went on to suggest kissing her neck while the lights were switched off, and she agreed. While doing this, he sexually assaulted her, then raped her on the sofa.

The girl told him she was in pain, but he did not stop. This went on for a few minutes until his phone rang and he told the victim to wash up in the toilet while he took the call.

The girl felt like crying in the toilet but did not do so as she did not want the offender to know she had cried, the court heard.

When she came out of the toilet, the offender apologised and asked if she was okay. The girl replied that she was. He then booked her a ride home.

While she was in the car, he sent her a message asking for what had happened to stay between them. In the following months, the offender continued to send the victim multiple messages requesting sex and sexual favours.

The victim told a friend about these messages on Jun 3, 2020. The friend told her own mother, who in turn informed the victim’s aunt as they were friends.

The victim’s aunt spoke to her that day and was shown the chat log with the offender and told about the rape. The girl was taken to make a police report on Jun 5, 2020.

HIS MENTAL DISORDER DEFENCE

Deputy Public Prosecutor Suhas Malhotra called the incident an “archetype” of the conduct that the offence of statutory rape is supposed to deter.

The offender could tell the girl was uncomfortable but changed tact and persisted until she eventually agreed to let him kiss her neck, with his conduct escalating from there, argued the prosecutor.

There was also a power imbalance as the victim was barely out of primary school while the offender was an older member of her extended family, said Mr Malhotra.

The prosecutor sought a total sentence of 10 years and four weeks’ jail and six strokes of the cane.

Defence lawyer Benedict Eoon argued that his client suffers from “hypersexuality” and risky sexual behaviour as a result of his schizophrenia.

He asked for a lower sentence on the basis of a psychiatrist’s finding that there was a contributory link between the offender’s hypersexuality and the offences.

The defence psychiatrist found that the offender exhibited risky sexual behaviour as he occasionally watched pornography and felt aroused when he sent sexual messages to women on dating platforms despite being married, said the lawyer.

However, Justice Dedar Singh Gill agreed with the prosecution and the findings of an Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist that such behaviour was within the range of normal human sexuality.

Justice Gill said the offender was able to exercise self-control at the time of the offence, pointing out that he “worked on” the victim to persuade her to have sex with him, and apologised after stopping the offending acts.

He added that the rape was premeditated and that the offender applied some pressure on the victim through his persistence.

Addressing the court before the sentence was delivered, the offender expressed hope for a shorter sentence so he could take care of his son.

He also said that his family was “supportive” and that he hoped to rebuild his relationship with them.

The man could have been jailed up to 20 years with a fine and caning for the offence of statutory rape. The punishment for cheating is jail for up to 10 years and a fine.