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Man acquitted of rape gets 13 years' jail, caning after prosecution succeeds in appeal


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SINGAPORE - A 45-year-old man who was cleared in 2020 of raping his former girlfriend was on Tuesday sentenced to 13 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane after his acquittal was reversed by the Court of Appeal.

The prosecution had appealed against the acquittal, arguing that the High Court had cleared the man in the face of overwhelming evidence against the accused.

Prosecutors argued that they had presented a plethora of evidence to corroborate the victim's compelling account, including witnesses who attested to the woman's trauma and distress immediately after the assault and medical experts who testified about the bruises on her neck.

The man's own conduct immediately after the incident spoke volumes about his guilt, said Deputy Public Prosecutors Ng Yiwen, Yvonne Poon and Selene Yap in written submissions.

He had sent her a flurry of messages, including 19 where he said "sorry", and begged her to withdraw her police report.

The Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal on Sept 13 and sentenced the man on Tuesday.

 

The apex court, which comprised Justices Judith Prakash, Tay Yong Kwang and Woo Bih Li, will set out its reasons for reversing the acquittal as well as the sentence in a written judgment at a later date.

 

The man was accused of raping the woman, then 29, in a rented HDB flat on Aug 6, 2017, while trying to strangle her.

He faced a charge of aggravated rape but was acquitted in June 2020 by Justice Pang Khang Chau, who said reasonable doubt had been raised over the guilt of the accused and that it was unsafe to convict him.

The man, who was defended by Ms Megan Chia, contended that they had consensual sex. He denied trying to strangle the victim, saying that he had given her love bites on her neck.

 

The man and the woman, now 34, were Malaysians working in Singapore who got into a relationship in 2012 and lived together in a rented three-room flat.

Their relationship soured in 2017, after the man was retrenched, and they broke up but he continued to stay in a separate room in the flat when he returned to Singapore to look for work.

He was on one such trip on Aug 2, 2017.

The woman testified that she avoided contact with him over the next four days and stayed at her aunt's place on Aug 4 and Aug 5.

On Aug 6, when she returned to the flat, he repeatedly questioned her decision to terminate the lease on the flat and move out by the end of month.

 

As they were talking, he slapped her, tore off her T-shirt and bra, and pinned her down on the bed.

He tried to strangle her with both hands and then raped her.

After the assault, he took her to a nearby clinic, where she told the doctor that the man had sexually assaulted her.

The doctor told the clinic assistant to call the police and the victim told the accused to leave.

After the man beseeched her to withdraw the police report, the victim reconsidered reporting him for the rape.

However, when she and her godmother returned to the flat and found him there, they called the police.

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