Web Stories Saturday, February 24

SEXUALLY ABUSED SISTER

The girl, her two brothers and their mother lived in a two-room Housing Board flat.

Their mother had four children with their father, who stopped living with them in 2010 – the same year the first offences began – and divorced their mother in 2013.

The girl’s father had care and control of her under custody arrangements, but the girl, the youngest of the children, moved periodically between staying with her father and mother.

The sexual abuse began in 2010 when the girl was aged five and her brother was 13.

He carried her to a washing machine in the kitchen but their mother discovered them before he could do anything. He was nude while the girl was naked from the waist down.

When their mother asked him what he was doing, he did not reply and got dressed, helping the girl put her clothes back on.

Their mother told him that the girl was his younger sister and he should not do such a thing to her.

The court earlier heard that he had watched pornographic animations or cartoons online. He began to feel the urge to perform the sexual acts that he saw in the cartoons. Whenever he felt sexually aroused, he would rub himself against the girl’s thighs or privates.

On a subsequent occasion, he approached his napping sister after watching porn on his computer, rubbing himself against her.

Their mother later saw semen stains on the girl’s underwear while showering her. When the mother asked him if he had molested the girl again and whether he had sexual intercourse with her, he denied it.

She again told him that the girl was his younger sister and he should not do such a thing to her.

NO REPORTS, REGULAR CHECKS

Prosecutors told the court that despite knowing about the abuse from as early as 2010, the mother did not regularly check in with her children on whether her son had stopped the abuse.

She also did not report the previous incidents even though she was legally obliged to, and did not ensure her son and daughter slept in separate beds.

Instead, in early June 2017, she told her son – then aged 20 – to share the same bed as the girl.

He raped the 12-year-old. Their mother woke up during this incident and caught him in the act.

She asked him what he was doing and he did not answer. She then reminded him again that the girl was his sister.

Later that year, he raped the girl once more while the whole family was sleeping in the same bedroom.

Shortly after, he argued with the girl because he did not like her using her mobile phone when he sexually abused her.

The argument woke their mother up, who reminded him that the girl was his sister and asked him if he was not scared of the consequences.

TOLD DAUGHTER TO SKIP SCHOOL

The mother grew worried when her daughter missed her period in October and November 2017.

Worried that she might be pregnant, the mother bought a pregnancy test kit for her, and it tested positive.

The mother asked her son if he had done anything to the girl and expressed her hope that he was not the father of the girl’s foetus. He did not respond.

The mother then brought her daughter to a clinic. When the clinic confirmed the pregnancy and advised her to send the girl to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital for a full medical examination, as well as to file a police report, she did not.

The mother also asked her daughter if she had sex with anyone else besides her brother. The girl said no.

Worried that her son would be arrested by the police, the mother decided to take her daughter to a clinic in Johor Bahru instead for an abortion. However, the doctor declined to perform the abortion because the foetus was over eight weeks old.

The mother decided that her daughter would keep the baby, telling her not to attend school to avoid detection.

The girl’s secondary school contacted the mother about her repeated absences. She lied that the girl was unwell and asked for her to be withdrawn from school, but the school said they needed a doctor’s letter to do so.

She eventually told the school that her daughter was pregnant and that her son was the father.

The school informed the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s Child Protection Services, which lodged a police report.

The girl’s pregnancy was terminated in February 2018. A paternity test revealed that the biological father was another young man.

POOR MENTAL HEALTH

Deputy Public Prosecutor Niranjan Ranjakunalan sought four to five years’ imprisonment, while the accused’s pro bono lawyers – Mr Cory Wong and Mr Josephus Tan from Invictus Law Corporation, who had also represented the son pro bono – asked for three years’ jail instead.

The defence flagged the mother’s poor mental health as a compassionate ground, despite no contributory link being found between her mental condition and her offences.

She was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and agoraphobia after her arrest.

Mr Wong added that mother and daughter are back to living together after intervention from the authorities, and are currently on social welfare assistance.

“They have no one else to depend on in their immediate household … It’s really been a long journey for the family,” said the defence counsel, gesturing to the public gallery where the daughter and relatives were sitting.

For knowingly allowing the ill-treatment of a child, she could be jailed for up to four years and fined up to S$4,000.

For intentionally omitting to give information about an offence, she could be jailed for up to six months and fined.

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