After two weeks of online chat, a 17-year-old girl was invited to play guitar at a home in the middle of the night. She was then raped while she was asleep. The youth who sexually assaulted her was sentenced to seven years in prison and four strokes of the cane.
Defendant Johnson Hong Siang Yeu (22) faced four charges, including sexual assault and rape. The prosecution charged with one count of rape and one offence under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, with the remaining counts to be considered by the judge when sentencing.
To protect victims, the media must not report any material that would reveal the identity of the victim.
According to the facts of the case, the defendant and the victim met through a dating platform OkCupid at the end of April last year, but the victim indicated from the beginning that she was not interested in finding someone to date, and the two developed a “brother and sister” relationship.
Their relationship grew day by day, as they connected with each other every day. The victim often confided to the defendant about their family and personal problems, and the defendant comforted the victim like an older brother.
On the evening of 9 May 2020, the defendant suddenly invited the victim to learn guitar at his HDB flat in Woodlands Street 13. The victim did not refuse and met the accused at around 1:20 a.m. the next day, but asked to stay in the stairwell.
An hour later, the defendant proposed that they move to his bedroom as it had air-conditioning. The victim felt that the stairwell was stuffy, so she followed the defendant into the room. The defendant also proposed to massage the victim’s back, and the victim, who did not think much at the time, gradually fell asleep during the massage.
The defendant took the opportunity to molest the victim. The victim woke up and tried to push the defendant away, but the defendant not only failed to stop, but also raped her.
After the incident, the victim immediately fled the defendant’s home, and the defendant texted an apology and begged the victim to forget everything and not hold him to fault. The victim was afraid of being scolded by her parents, so at first he only dared to ask her friends for help, and under the persuasion of her friends, she called the police.
The prosecutor pointed out that the defendant knew that the victim had no intention of dating him, but betrayed the victim’s trust and violated her, and urged the judge to punish him severely.
The lawyer representing the accused countered that the two only met a few weeks before the incident, and the relationship was not deep at all, and it could not prove that the victim believed in the defendant. For example, the victim entered the defendant’s house because of the hot weather.
The lawyer hoped that the judge would see the defendant as a very young first-time offender and be given a light sentence.
When the judge handed down the sentence, she agreed with the prosecution’s position. The judge pointed to the victim’s willingness to meet the defendant who she had just met late at night showed her trust in the defendant. She added that the defendant’s crime was serious and should be severely punished to set an example.