Prosecution seeks jail in lieu of caning for ex-CEO who sexually abused son's friend

Amir Hussain
Senior Reporter
The 49-year-old foreign national was jailed 14 years along with 24 strokes of the cane in August last year. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — A former chief executive who was sentenced to 14 years’ jail along with 24 strokes of the cane last year for sexually assaulting his son’s nine-year-old classmate during a Halloween sleepover has been found unfit for caning by a prison doctor due to a spinal injury.

At the High Court on Tuesday (22 October), the prosecution asked that the man receive an additional one-year jail term in lieu of caning.

Justice See Kee Oon is expected to make a ruling on the prosecution’s application at a later date.

The man, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, cannot be named in order to protect the victim’s identity.

The father of three had been convicted of two counts of sexual assault by penetration of a minor and one charge of aggravated molestation after a trial.

The man, who has been living in Singapore since 2010, later appealed against the verdict but was unsuccessful.

The court earlier heard that his wife and three children are now overseas.

Halloween party sleepover

On 31 October 2015, the victim attended a Halloween party and then slept over at the man’s home at the invitation of the man and his wife.

After some games and trick-or-treating with the man’s son and several other friends, the victim returned to the man’s home at around 9pm. An hour-and-a-half later, the man told the victim and his son to go to bed, and both went to the son’s room, which had a bunk bed. The victim took the upper bunk while the accused’s son slept on the bottom bunk.

While the victim lay awake around 11.15pm, the man entered the bedroom. The victim feigned sleep and saw the man approach the bunk bed. The man then stepped on the lower bunk bed and checked on both boys. After being assured that both were sound asleep, the man pulled the victim’s left kneecap towards him.

The man then molested the victim from outside his shorts before pulling down the boy’s shorts to grope him. The man then left the room, but returned and performed oral sex on the boy. He left the room again but later returned to perform oral sex on the victim once more. Afterwards, the man pulled up the victim’s shorts and left the room.

The victim then decided to leave the house. He packed his belongings and went to the man’s bedroom where he saw the latter using his laptop. He told the man that he wanted to return home as he felt unwell. The man’s wife then helped the victim contact his father who later picked the boy up from the man’s house.

When the victim’s father arrived at the man’s house, he saw that his son was eager to leave. As the victim stepped into the car, he revealed to his father what had happened — after making the latter promise not to tell anyone about the incident. The victim’s father then alighted from the car to confront the perpetrator, while the victim crouched on the car’s floorboard.

An argument broke out between the victim’s father and the culprit, who claimed that he had been using his computer in his room the whole time. The victim’s father later left the man’s house to tend to his son. He contacted his wife, who was in New York at the time, and the school’s counsellor before making a police report on 2 November 2015.

Spine injury from fall

In his mitigation plea when he was sentenced last year, the court heard that the man he had a spinal fracture after falling from an elephant in 2011.

While in remand at Changi Prison, he was also admitted to Changi General Hospital for six days due to his spinal injury. He later strained his neck while being handcuffed to a bed in the prison’s sick bay.

On Tuesday, the man’s lawyer, Selva Kumara Naidu, told Justice See that he wanted a mattress in his prison cell.

But a memo from a prison doctor said that while a mattress would be helpful to the man’s condition, it was not necessary.

Justice See gave the lawyer one month to get a doctor to certify the need for a mattress.

For his aggravated molestation charge, the man could have been jailed for up to five years along with a fine and caning.

For each of this two charges of sexual assault by penetration, he faced between eight and 20 years’ jail, along with at least 12 strokes of the cane.

Charges involving second victim

Separately, the man still faces five charges of sexually abusing another eight-year-old boy between April and May 2011.

He allegedly tried to perform oral sex on the boy by opening his mouth very close to the boy’s penis while standing in front of him. He purportedly also showed the boy a pornographic video.

And he is also accused of fondling and groping the boy’s private parts on three occasions.

The case involving the second victim is still pending before the courts.

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