SINGAPORE: While on probation for previous sexual offences, a young man sexually abused four girls and raped a fifth.
A psychiatrist told the court that Muhammad Ashahann Hairudin had displayed deviant sexual behaviour in picking young adolescent females.
Ashahann, now 20, was sentenced on Monday (Mar 2) to 12 years' jail and six strokes of the cane, an imprisonment term longer than the minimum 10 years' jail asked for by the prosecution.
The court heard that Ashahann had previously been sentenced to two years' probation in February 2017 for two counts of molesting a 12-year-old girl and two counts of sexual penetration of a 14-year-old girl.
FOUND FIRST VICTIM A WEEK AFTER PROBATION SENTENCE
Just a week after being given probation in February 2017, Ashahann, who was 17 at the time, came across a 15-year-old girl's profile on Instagram and contacted her.
He met up with her in early March 2017, and later that month, suggested that they head to his house.
He had unprotected sex with the victim, who had hoped that he would become her boyfriend, said the prosecution.
That same month, Ashahann targeted another 15-year-old girl, whom he met playing street soccer in the neighbourhood.
The girl went to Ashahann's home when no one was home, but pushed his hands away when he tried to pull her pants down.
She told him that she did not want to have sex with him, but Ashahann persisted. He then had sex with her.
The victim told him again that she did not want to have sex as she was menstruating, and Ashahann stopped after failing to convince her otherwise.
TARGETED TWO OTHER MINORS
He targeted two other girls in March 2017. They were his relative's 12-year-old friend and his relative's girlfriend, who was also a minor.
While the 12-year-old friend was at Ashahann's home, Ashahan asked the girl to fellate him, but she refused. Ashahann then had sex with the 12-year-old girl "with her consent", court documents said.
While this was ongoing, Ashahann's relative was trying to have sex with his girlfriend for the first time, after Ashahann encouraged them to.
Ashahann showed them how to have sex and penetrated his relative's girlfriend with his finger.
The offences escalated to rape a year later in March 2018.
RAPE OFFENCES OCCURRED A YEAR LATER
He came to know the victim, a 16-year-old girl, as they were in the same school, which was not named in court documents.
He invited her to his condominium to do homework by the swimming pool. The victim wore a swimsuit under her clothes and went to Ashahann's condominium - which was not named in court documents - at about 1.30pm on Mar 17, 2018.
She did not intend to swim as she was menstruating, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Asoka Markandu. After the girl did some homework, Ashahann led her to a toilet for the disabled near the pool.
When the victim realised where they were going, she grew alarmed and stepped away from Ashahann, sensing that he wanted sex.
She told him that she did not want to follow him, but Ashahann ignored her and dragged her to the toilet.
Despite her struggle, Ashahann was too strong for her, and the victim began to cry, telling him repeatedly that she did not want to follow him.
Ashahann ignored her pleas and carried her to the toilet. The girl tried to break free a few times but was blocked by Ashahann.
He forced the victim to perform a sex act on him and then raped her. He then washed the blood and semen away before forcing himself on the girl again and raping her a second time.
The victim threw her bloodied swimsuit away and changed before going home. She told her friends about what happened and said she had suicidal thoughts.
She met her friends the next day and they accompanied her to file a police report.
Ashahann pleaded guilty on Monday to one charge of rape and three charges of sexual penetration of a minor. Another six charges were taken into consideration.
ACCUSED HAS NO MENTAL DISORDER
A psychiatrist with the Institute of Mental Health found that Ashahann did not suffer from any mental disorder, paedophilia or any paraphilic disorder.
While Ashahann was of "low average intelligence", he did not suffer from any intellectual disability, the court heard.
He was found to have a moderate to high risk of sexual reoffending, with the psychiatrist highlighting that he displayed deviant sexual behaviour in choosing young girls as preferred sexual partners.
He also displayed "a lack of victim empathy as he failed to consider if his actions would have any traumatic effect on his victims in the future".
The prosecution asked for at least 10 years' jail and six strokes of the cane, noting that Ashahann was a "hardened and recalcitrant sexual offender".
He added that Ashahann had reoffended just a month after being sentenced to probation, and said there was an escalation in his crimes, culminating in rape.
The rape victim suffered pain and became suicidal, a situation that was averted only after her friends intervened, said Mr Asoka.
He said the aggravating factor pertained to the manner of the rape.
"On the facts, the victim was raped over the course of about an hour. The victim was also subjected to further degradation when she was forced to fellate the accused, before being raped," Mr Asoka added.
"The fact that the victim was menstruating was plainly obvious to the accused, and yet it did not stop him from raping her the second time. (Ashahann's) lack of victim empathy is deeply disturbing."
Defence lawyer Ranadhir Gupta asked the judge to call for probation and reformative training reports, but Justice Aedit Abdullah did not accede to these requests.
JUDGE FINDS PROSECUTOR'S REQUESTED SENTENCE A BIT LOW
The judge questioned the prosecution on the sentence they were asking for, noting that it was "a bit low".
The prosecutor told the court that Ashahann will be returning to the state courts this week to face proceedings for breaching his probation conditions.
He said the prosecution intends to call for an additional two strokes of the cane for that.
The judge said he did not find Ashahann's youth a substantial factor in his favour, adding that he found imprisonment and caning the appropriate punishment.
He said the sentence was "not crushing" given the circumstances, and that the sentence reflects the overall criminality.
Ashahann said he did not intend to appeal the sentence, and was granted time to speak to his family members after the hearing.
For rape, he could have been sentenced to a maximum 20 years' jail and a fine or caning.