A 22-year-old man was sentenced to six years’ jail and three strokes of the cane on Monday (Jul 25) for the attempted rape of his four-year-old step-niece in February 2012.
He had tried to have sex with the girl after becoming “sexually aroused” when she climbed onto his lap, wanting to play. The man, then 18, positioned the victim on her back, before pulling down her shorts and panties and attempting to rape her, the High Court heard.
After a while, the girl pulled up her panties and shorts and ran, crying, to her mother, who had been busy in the kitchen. Her mother, the man’s step-sister, assumed they had just been playing and brushed off her daughter’s complaints.
However, when the girl complained of pain in her genital area in the days that followed, her mother took her to the doctor. The National University Hospital’s Children’s Emergency Department reported the case to the police in March 2012.
The teen was arrested the next day, and confessed to police that he had tried to rape his step-niece as he was feeling “horny” after the toddler straddled him.
VICTIM’S PAIN AND TERROR “UNIMAGINABLE”: PROSECUTION
Prosecutors urged the court to impose a seven-year jail term on the man. Although the rape was “not completed”, prosecutors pointed out the man had “gone beyond just taking a mere preparatory step”.
“(His) actions fully reflect (his) clear and sustained intention to see through the sexual assault on (the victim)”, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy said, pointing to the fact the man had gone so far as to position the girl on her back and remove her shorts and panties.
The prosecutor also pointed out the victim was just four years old when she was assaulted by her step-uncle. “At the age of four, she was absolutely vulnerable,” DPP Uthrapathy said, and “would have suffered significant pain as the (man) attempted to (rape) her … the physical pain and absolute terror she must have endured is unimaginable”.
The impact of the attempted rape on the girl, now eight, “remains to be seen”, she added.
HE IS NOT A PAEDOPHILE: DEFENCE
Defence lawyer Daniel Soo said five years’ jail would be fair, acknowledging his client had committed a “horrible crime”.
Citing the man’s low IQ and fractured family background, Mr Soo said the man “never had proper parental guidance … pornography (was his) primary source of sexual education”.
The lawyer also pointed out the man did not “complete” the rape, though he could have done so “easily”. “The girl was powerless and vulnerable,” Mr Soo said, but the man, due to his low IQ, may not have fully understood the gravity of his actions then, the lawyer added.
However, the man is not a paedophile and has a low risk of reoffending, Mr Soo said, citing a report by the Institute of Mental Health.
For attempted rape, the man could have been sentenced to up to 20 years’ jail and fined or caned.