The prosecution has found grounds for appeal in the case where a 40-year-old woman who admitted to repeatedly sexually assaulting her 13-year-old neighbour over almost two years was acquitted of six charges, the Attorney-General's Chambers announced on Monday (Apr 18).
In acquitting Zunika Ahmad, who had been pretending to be an Indonesian man, Justice Kan Ting Chiu had said the particular section of the law under which she was charged “does not cover women as offenders”.
However, Zunika Ahmad was convicted under the Children and Young Persons Act for committing an obscene act with the victim in February 2012. She was sentenced to eight months' jail; she could have been jailed up to five years and/or fined up to S$10,000.
Zunika had pleaded guilty in December last year to six counts under section 376A(1)(b) of the Penal Code for sexually assaulting the young girl using a sex toy. Section 376A(1)(b) criminalises the sexual penetration of a minor “with a part of A’s body (other than A’s penis) or anything else”.
She had also agreed to have another 14 charges under section 376A(1)(b) to be taken into consideration of the purpose of sentencing, said the AGC.
AGC said that in the arguments before Justice Kan, the prosecution had submitted that section 376A of the Penal Code was "clearly intended" by Parliament to be gender-neutral. It added that it had also submitted that an analysis of the wording of the section in the context of the Penal Code as a whole showed that the provision was "clearly intended to apply to both male and female accused persons".
The arguments were rejected by Justice Kan, said the AGC.
Having reviewed Justice Kan's written grounds of decision, the AGC said the prosecution has "concluded that an appeal is merited against Senior Judge Kan's finding that section 376A(1)(b) does not apply to female accused persons, as well as his decision not only to set aside the accused’s plea of guilt on these six charges but also to record an order of acquittal on all six charges; and finally, the sentence imposed on the remaining charge under section 7(a) of the Children and Young Persons Act".