9 years' jail, caning sought for ex-SAF regular who restrained and molested 2 underaged girls

·5-min read
Judge's gavel. (Photo: Getty Images)
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The prosecution is seeking nine years’ jail and seven strokes of the cane for a former Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) regular who targetted and molested two young girls at HDB flats.

Mohamed Ardlee Iriandee Mohamed Sanip, 40, had researched primary school operating hours and how to grab his victims from behind before putting his plan into action on the girls, whom he restrained on separate occasions at staircase landings.

His lawyer Mohamed Muzammil Mohamed on Thursday (1 October) urged the court to call for a Newton hearing, citing a causal link between his client’s psychiatric condition and his offences.

Ardlee had been deemed by the defence’s psychiatrist to be suffering from stress-related anxiety and depression at the time of the offences, said Muzammil. The defence said that this would affect the issue of sentencing.

However, District Judge (DJ) John Ng declined to call for a Newton hearing, saying that the two sets of psychiatric reports submitted to the court were comprehensive enough.

Yahoo News Singapore understands that Ardlee was terminated from his role in the SAF. He had been working at a tuition centre providing administrative support pending the outcome of his case but has since left the job.

Muzammil asked the court to impose the minimum sentence on Ardlee, given that he had not re-offended after his arrest. He said his client had the opportunity to do so while in the tuition centre, which catered to primary school students, and that he did not do so was something in his favour.

“He had benefitted much from counselling and treatment from the Institute of Mental Health until now, that is why he has been free from repeating what he did,” said the lawyer.

As such, Muzammil argued for a mandatory treatment order (MTO) for his client, which meant that his client would have gone through psychiatric treatment in lieu of jail time. However, DJ Ng dismissed the sentencing option as “without legal basis”. An MTO is inapplicable in Ardlee’s case as his offence has a specified minimum sentence of jail.

Muzammil then sought the minimum period of three years’ jail for his client.

In her submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sruthi Boppana stated that Ardlee was a diagnosed pedophile who perpetrated the offences against two victims within four months, after having fantasised over the acts for six months. That Ardlee did not reoffend was at best a neutral factor, the prosecution said.

She objected to the defence’s psychiatric report that Ardlee was in “a dazed and dissociative state” at the time of the offences, citing another report which pointed out that Ardlee’s actions were planned and systematic since he had searched for information that would help him.

The case was adjourned for a pending High Court decision on another case, which might affect Ardlee’s sentencing. He will return to court on 27 October.

Ardlee was earlier convicted on two charges of molesting while restraining a minor under the age of 14.

Facts of the case

Ardlee developed a sexual interest in young girls some time in December 2017 after reading about pedophilic behaviour online and news articles about sexual offences.

He would search the internet for nude pictures of young girls and would occasionally masturbate to them. His internet browser search history on his two mobile phones showed that he looked up photographs and videos of young nude models, as well as voyeuristic videos taken in changing rooms and public showers.

Ardlee also looked up primary school timings, as well as how to muffle noise and cover people’s mouths. According to court documents, he also considered waiting near primary schools for opportunities to molest young girls.

He targeted his eight-year-old victim in this manner on 22 January 2018, ambushing her at the sixth floor of an HDB block. After grabbing her arm to prevent her from leaving, he molested her at a staircase before fleeing.

Months later, Ardlee assaulted the 10-year-old victim. On 21 May 2018, he left his workplace at the SAFTI Military Institute still dressed in his work attire and drove to a carpark to scout for a target when he spotted his potential victim.

At 4pm, while near an HDB block at Choa Chu Kang Crescent, he spotted the girl walking back from school and began following her.

After observing the girl entering the lift at her block alone, Ardlee then rushed up the stairs to the second floor. Catching the girl as she exited the lift, he pushed her towards the nearby staircase landing.

As the girl screamed, Ardlee covered her mouth with his hand. The girl continued to scream and struggle, prompting Ardlee to release her and flee down the staircase. He then went back to his workplace.

When the girl returned home, she told her aunt about the incident. A police report was lodged by the girl’s cousins, who tried searching for Ardlee.

The police eventually managed to track down Ardlee. CCTV footage played in court showed Ardlee heading up the staircase and fleeing down it shortly after while in his army uniform. He was arrested on 22 May 2018.

For molesting a person under the age of 14 while causing wrongful restraint, Ardlee could be jailed between three and 10 years, along with caning.

Stay in the know on-the-go: Join Yahoo Singapore's Telegram channel at http://t.me/YahooSingapore

More Singapore stories

I’m ‘incredibly proud’ of my sons’ support for Hsien Yang and me in family dispute: Lee Suet Fern

21 new COVID cases in Singapore, 15 imported

Son of former PM Goh Chok Tong assisting in CAD probe: reports