SINGAPORE: A paedophile molested his six-year-old goddaughter in a toilet for the disabled, before instructing her to remove her clothes and taking photos of her genitals.
For one charge of molesting a minor and another of committing an obscene act with a child, the 36-year-old man was sentenced on Monday (Feb 10) to five years' jail and six strokes of the cane.
He cannot be named due to a gag order protecting the identity of the victim.
The court heard that the man, who is hearing-impaired, was friends with the victim's father, who is hearing-impaired and mute.
The victim's father entrusted the offender with caring for his daughter, who was six at the time and in primary school.
As the girl's godfather, the offender took the victim to and from school everyday, sometimes buying food for her.
In 2015, the accused picked the girl up from school and went shopping at Toa Payoh Hub.
He wanted to urinate and took the girl into a toilet for the disabled with him. After urinating, he suddenly became sexually aroused and felt the urge to masturbate, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Colin Ng.
He instructed the girl to remove her clothes and she complied. He then took a photo of her naked body as she sat on the toilet bowl.
He used his fingers to expose the girl even further and took several close-up photos.
He then masturbated while the girl was with him in the toilet. She kept quiet as she did not understand her godfather's actions, the court heard.
The man kept the three photos so he could masturbate to them and made copies of them onto a hard disk he had.
GIRLFRIEND CALLS POLICE
His girlfriend stumbled upon the photos two years later in May 2017, when she was using his laptop. Recognising the little girl, she confronted the accused and demanded that he delete them. He refused.
The girlfriend told the victim's parents about her discovery. They did not believe her at first, but when she sent them to photos, they became furious and confronted the accused.
The accused begged the victim's father not to lodge a police report and the latter decided not to as he wanted to protect his daughter's privacy.
However, the accused's girlfriend reported the matter to the police. The offender deleted the photos and discarded his hard disk after learning about this.
The accused pleaded guilty on Monday to one charge of using criminal force on the victim to outrage her modesty and another of committing an obscene act with a child.
The prosecution sought at least five years' jail and six strokes of the cane, calling the accused "a menacing paedophile who has demonstrated a proclivity for committing sexual offences against youths and minors".
He had previously been fined for an obscene act in a public place - masturbating along a corridor when he saw two young girls under the age of 10.
Mr Ng said there was an "egregious abuse of trust and responsibility" as the accused was the victim's godfather, entrusted by the girl's parents to take her out.
He said the child was a particularly young victim, unable to comprehend the nature of the acts.
The accused did not just touch the child, he also exposed her body parts and took pictures of them, said the prosecutor.
He cited a report by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), which stated that the accused was a paedophile with a sexual attraction for young females between the ages of 10 and 12.
"The accused has a 60 per cent chance (of) reoffending during the next 19 years," said Mr Ng.
Defence lawyer Amarjit Singh Sidhu said his client admitted that this "is a sad case" and that "he has let his close ones down".
He asked for three years' jail, saying his client is remorseful and that this is his first offence involving a child.
He raised the issue of his client's fitness for caning, as his client previously had surgery for abdominal issues.
He also said his client had not circulated the pictures, but kept them for his own consumption.
"Somehow that sounds even more troubling," said District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim.
She said she had to take into account the fact that he was listed in the IMH report as someone in the high-risk category for reoffending.
For molesting a minor, he could have been jailed for up to five years, fined, caned or given any combination of these punishments.
For an indecent act with a child, he could have been jailed for up to five years, fined a maximum S$10,000 or both.