The Straits Times / Asia News Network
A 47-year-old man who showed pornographic videos to his eight-year-old neighbour and molested her twice in three months was on Thursday sentenced to four years' jail and nine strokes of the cane.
The man, who is married with no children, pleaded guilty to two charges of aggravated molestation on Tuesday, with two charges of showing obscene objects to the victim taken into consideration.
Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Marshall Lim described the man's actions against the young victim as wicked, premeditated and an abuse of trust.
There was great trust between the family of the man's wife and the victim's family, who have been next-door neighbours since the 1980s, and this trust extended to the man when he moved in with his wife's family, said the DPP.
The DPP argued that showing obscene images to the girl was an "overt act of sexual grooming".
He sought five years' jail and nine strokes of the cane.
"His acts of lust would leave an indelible mark on the life of a young innocent child, and destroyed the close, almost three-decade friendship shared between two families."
Defence counsel Peter Fernando conceded that it was an aggravating factor to show obscene images to the girl, but he argued that it was a gross exaggeration to say it was tantamount to sexual grooming.
Mr Fernando said the victim had, on multiple occasions, on her own accord and in privacy, viewed sexual content using her father's laptop.
There was no evidence that his client had taught her how to download sexual content, said the lawyer.
He said there was no trauma to the victim arising from the offences.
The lawyer added that his client has sought spiritual guidance and volunteers regularly in church with his "extremely supportive" wife.
He sought a two-year jail term and added that his client and his wife are sorry for what he did to the victim.
In sentencing, Justice Pang Khang Chau noted the very young age of the victim and that there was abuse of trust given the close relationship between the two families.
The judge agreed with the prosecution that the acts were premeditated rather than opportunistic, as argued by the defence.
The first incident took place on Sept 4, 2017, after the man went over to the victim's house to help her father fix the water heater. The man left the house but returned - after her father had left for work - and went up to the second floor, where the girl was in her parents' bedroom.
He showed her an obscene photo and video on his mobile phone, then touched her inappropriately. She pushed him out the door and tried to shut it, but relented after he begged her. He entered the room again and pulled down her underwear.
On Dec 1, 2017, the man left for his workplace, Marina Bay Sands (MBS), with his wife on his motorcycle. The court heard that he had lied to his wife that he had some work to do, and at the same time, arranged with the girl to go to her house.
Leaving his wife to shop at MBS, he went to the victim's house and used a gate key entrusted to his in-laws to enter the house.
He touched her again.