SINGAPORE: The Court of Appeal on Thursday (Jul 6) reduced the jail term for a man who had sexually abused his sister when he was a teenager and she was as young as nine.
The offender had been sentenced to 18 years in jail and 16 strokes of the cane by the High Court in December 2022.
The Apex Court found that the jail term was “crushing” as he was only 20 years old when he was sentenced.
“This is because the total imprisonment term represents almost his whole life up to that point,” said Justice Tay Yong Kwang, who delivered the judgment.
The appeal was heard by Justice Tay, Justice Judith Prakash and Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.
They reduced the sentence to 16 years’ jail, with the 16 strokes of the cane to remain.
The boy had pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his biological sister between 2017 and 2019, when he was 15 to 17 and when she was nine to 11.
Six other charges were taken into consideration.
His newly appointed lawyer from the Public Defender’s Office appealed against the total sentence, as well as the individual sentences, saying they were manifestly excessive.
Instead, they asked for 13 years’ jail and eight strokes of the cane.
The prosecution asked for the appeal to be dismissed, saying the sentence was warranted and that the sentencing judge had already considered the offender’s young age and rehabilitative prospects.
The Court of Appeal disagreed with the defence’s arguments on the period of offending and the harm caused, but said the only point that caused some concern was the relative youth of the appellant.
“He was between 15 and 17 years in age at the time of the offences in the three charges in issue,” said Justice Tay.
However, the court found that while the 16 strokes of the cane ordered was “entirely justified”, a jail term of 18 years on top of this would be crushing.