Sentence for man who molested 12-year-old girl reduced on appeal
Sundaresh Menon CJ noted that the man slapped the victim ten minutes after he molested her, meaning that he could not have done so to commit the offence.
A man convicted of molesting a 12-year-old girl has seen his sentenced reduced on appeal.
The man, 35, now faces two years' jail and three strokes of the cane, as opposed to four years and six months' jail and six strokes of the cane that a district judge imposed earlier.
The man and the girl, who referred to him as her stepfather, cannot be named to protect her identity.
Reducing the charge from aggravated outrage of modesty to outrage of modesty, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who heard the appeal, noted that the man slapped the victim ten minutes after he molested her, meaning that he could not have done so to commit the offence.
In his judgment released yesterday, the Chief Justice wrote: "At the trial, the prosecution identified the relevant act of hurt to be the appellant's act of slapping the victim twice, but it was not disputed that this act occurred ten minutes after the offence of outrage of modesty had been committed.
"That act could not therefore be said to have been done in order to commit or to facilitate the commission of that offence."
The man is the boyfriend of the girl's mother and the father of the victim's younger half-brother. The family lived together in a one-room flat.
The girl testified earlier that in the early hours of Aug 28 last year, the man woke her up and she felt his hand under her bra on her left breast for about a minute as he applied a significant amount of force.
He then pulled her hair and brought her face close to his groin three or four times, but she did not see if his genitals were exposed as she had turned away. Ten minutes later, he slapped her twice.
During those ten minutes, she moved to her brother's bed, where the man kept trying to touch her but stopped when her brother woke up.
Later that day, she told her school counsellor about the incident.
The Chief Justice said that although the man, who represented himself, did not comply with the proper procedure to bring an appeal against conviction, it was allowed in the interests of justice.
The man maintained that he was innocent.
The prosecution had proposed changing the aggravating element of the slapping of the victim to the different element of wrongful restraint - that of pulling her hair and of forcing her head towards the man's groin.
However, this was not allowed as the Chief Justice said it would have "changed the complexion of the case entirely" and there was a reasonable possibility that the trial might have proceeded differently had the man been tried on this proposed altered charge.
There was also concern of potential prejudice to the man.
The prosecution then sought to amend the charge to one of outrage of modesty of a person under 14 years of age, which was allowed as this would not cause any prejudice since it is a lesser version of the original charge.
The man was then convicted on this amended charge.
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