SINGAPORE: A 34-year-old man was sentenced to jail and jail on Monday (August 20) for sexual abuse of his girlfriend's eight-year-old daughter in 2014.
The man, who can not be named to protect the identity of the victim, received a 12-year sentence and a six-month prison sentence and 15 strokes of the baton for three charges: a count of committing an indecent act with child, a count of aggravated assault by penetration and a count of the modesty of a minor under 14 years of age.
In 2009 he started a relationship with the mother of the girl, after her marriage had failed, the Supreme Court heard.
Three years later in 2012, the couple moved to a rental apartment in Tampines. The woman had a son and a daughter with the accused, but the boy died before he became a year old.
The couple lived in the flat with their surviving daughter, as well as the wife's own daughter.
Apart from that, the suspect was still married to another woman, with whom he had a son, and he regularly stayed with them in the knowledge of his girlfriend.
He treated the victim as his own child and was a disciplinarian and father figure against her, according to court documents.
The sexual abuse began in June 2014, during the school holidays, when the suspect worked as a dispatcher for the Koli Express courier service.
He would return home to rest during his lunch breaks before returning to work. He was mostly alone, but during the school holidays the victim was also at home, while her step-sister was in a nursery.
ABUSE STARTED WITH A MASSAGE
That month the defendant was on medical leave and stayed at home. He asked the eight-year-old girl to massage his legs in the living room. She did this while she saw a YouTube video on her phone.
As he massaged his legs, the girl unwittingly made contact with the accused's genitals about his boxer shorts. He got excited and let her perform a sexual act on him.
That same month, the accused asked the child to perform another sexual act with him without her permission. He then kissed her and spoiled her.
The next day, the girl entrusted a neighbor and told her what had happened. Shocked, the neighbor asked her to repeat her account and record the conversation on her phone.
Later she played the recording for the mother of the girl. The mother confronted the accused about the sexual abuse and immediately confessed it, begged for forgiveness.
The girl's mother threw him out of the apartment first, but eventually he gave in and let him in again after the accused begged for forgiveness.
She did not report the case to the police because her daughter did not report further incidents.
In February 2016, the grandmother of the girl filed a police report after discovering that the accused had struck the child and bruised her head.
By that time, the grandmother was aware of sexual abuse and worried that it was happening again.
The child told the police that she had been molested several times in 2014 and had been sexually penetrated and the accused was arrested in March 2016.
PROSECUTION ASKS QUESTION FOR 14 YEARS, 15 BEATS OF REED
The man pleaded guilty on Monday. Deputy Prosecutor Winston Man asked for a prison sentence of 14 years in prison and 15 strokes of the walking stick, which he said was a "serious sexual assault of a young child".
"It was not a one-off case of insult," he said. "Only when he was confronted did he stop."
He said there was a clear abuse of trust, and that the child at age eight was even defenseless and ignorant than a teenager.
"In this case there was also an element of perseverance, with no less than three separate incidents in June 2014 alone," said the public prosecutor.
The lawyer of the man, Dhanwant Singh, asked the minimum mandatory prison of eight years and twelve strokes of the walking stick.
He said the case was "exceptional" because the father-daughter relationship was "restored" and "left intact".
"Shortly after June 2014, the unity of the family was restored," said the defense. "It was not until 2016, when the accused took steps to discipline the child, that the welfare officer was called in and the accused had to move."
He asked for a "substantial discount" because of the guilt of the accused and sincere remorse, adding that the period of violating was "short-lived".
Judge Commissioner Audrey Lim said that this is "no case that calls for the minimum mandatory penalty".
She said that the victim was young and vulnerable and lived with the accused, who assumed the role of a father figure.
After the verdict was pronounced, the accused asked for some time with the victim's mother, who was present.
MOTHER OF VICTIM REQUESTS JUDGE FOR LENIENCY
She had written a letter to the judge asking for leniency, stating that the accused was a "dutiful, loving, responsible father and son".
She wrote that she is really disappointed and heartbroken & # 39; was on the day she discovered the incident, but said that the accused "sincerely wants to change to be a good father."
"He has done so much in recent years to improve his life and has built up a very good family relationship with us," she wrote. "Please give our children … hope we can live happily as before, our baby needs her father."
For sexual assault by penetration on a minor under 14, the accused was faced with a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.