Bangladeshi worker on trial for raping Chinese national in MacRitchie area

Yahoo Singapore file photo

A Bangladeshi national on Tuesday (16 May) went on trial in the High Court for allegedly abducting and raping a woman from China in a forested area of MacRitchie Reservoir Park.

Pramanik Liton, a 24-year-old construction worker, is accused of raping the 40-year-old woman off the Lornie Trail after threatening her with a knife. He allegedly raped the woman twice and forced her to perform oral sex on him.

He faces two counts of aggravated rape, one of sexual assault by penetration and one count of abduction for the purpose of having sex with the victim. Liton, who has been working in Singapore since 2014, is denying the charges. The victim’s name cannot be revealed due to a gag order.

According to the prosecution, on 8 February 2015, the victim was walking alone along the Lornie Trail of MacRitchie Reservoir Park around 1.45pm when Liton approached her and asked her to have sex with him. When she rejected him, Liton allegedly placed a knife against her neck, covered her nose and mouth and forced her off the Lornie Trail.

The victim lost consciousness when her mouth was covered, the prosecution said. She only regained consciousness when she was dropped at the forested area, some 14 metres away from the Lornie Trail.

Once in the forested area, Liton raped the victim twice and sexually assaulted her for nearly two hours, the prosecution said. According to court documents, the victim feared for her life and pleaded with Liton to let her go. After the act, she saw Liton throw the knife into another part of the area before leaving.

The trial began with a senior crime scene specialist taking the stand and presenting to the court a sketch plan of the area where the rape supposedly occurred. When shown the map, Liton told the court that he did not go into the Lornie Trail but “went to a forested area”. He also denied knowing anything about a knife.

After the alleged offences took place, the victim called her then-boyfriend, who accompanied her to the Ang Mo Kio Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) to make a police report shortly after 6pm.

Assistant Superintendent Lim Yi Ting, who took the stand this afternoon, testified that when she met the victim at the NPC on the day of the incident, the victim looked “pale and weak” and her hair was messy. She was also hugging her stomach and complained of pain there.

ASP Lim later went to the scene of the crime with the victim, who was visibly scared. At one point, the victim even sat at the kerb and refused to go into the park as she was afraid that Liton would still be there, said ASP Lim.

“She was so scared that she was shivering. It took a while to convince her that she will be safe with us before she moved in with us,” said ASP Lim.

During investigations at the crime scene, a tracker with the Gurkha contingent found pieces of tissue on the ground. The tissues were sent to the Health Sciences Authority where they were found to have Liton’s semen. Liton’s DNA was also found on the victim’s blouse.  Swabs from the victim’s mouth, vagina and panties also tested positive for Liton’s semen.

Trackers also managed to find the knife in the forested area after a thorough search. Liton’s fingerprint was lifted from the blade of the knife and police arrested him on 10 February at a construction site.

Inspector Vimala Raj, who briefed the Ghurkha team that found the knife, also took the stand. When Liton was asked if he had any questions for Inspector Vimala, the accused said through a Bengali interpreter, “How did you find this knife? It does not belong to me.”

The prosecution, represented by Deputy Public Prosecutors Stella Tan and Sruthi Boppana, said it will be gathering evidence from 44 witnesses.

Liton, who is unrepresented, was previously represented by a lawyer under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme but she eventually discharged herself, according to DPP Tan. In court this afternoon, Liton told Justice Choo Han Teck through the interpreter that he doesn’t need a lawyer.

If convicted of aggravated rape, Liton faces between eight years and 20 years in jail and at least 12 strokes of the cane per charge. The four-day trial will continue on Wednesday (17 May).