The Magistrate’s Court yesterday handed a sentence of three years’ jail with three canings to a local man who had carnal knowledge of a minor girl.
The defendant and the victim are distant relatives. The victim would stay at the defendants’ family home in Tutong District on weekends.
The defendant, 34, whose name is withheld to protect the victim’s identity, pleaded guilty to the charge of committing the unlawful carnal knowledge act with a 15-year-old girl, by engaging in sexual activities with her on July 16 when she spent the weekend at the house.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nurul Fitri binti Kiprawi revealed in court that it was about midnight when the defendant and the victim were in the family living room. At the time, the other family members were asleep in their bedrooms.
The defendant and the victim stayed up until 4am.
The defendant then laid down next to the victim on her mattress. They hugged each other and fell asleep.
When the defendant woke up, he began kissing the victim’s lips.
The victim woke up and kissed the defendant back.
They proceeded to have consensual sexual intercourse and went back to sleep.
In mitigation, the defendant expressed his remorse and apologised to the victim and family for his actions.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nurul Fitri highlighted to the court the aggravating factors including the fact that the defendant and the victim are relatives, and the defendant – who was twice the victim’s age – exploited the victims’ immaturity and impressionable young age.
Senior Magistrate Harnita Zelda Skinner observed that offences under the unlawful carnal knowledge are treated by the court as serious in nature and the court is unable to ignore the aggravating features in the case.
She further stated that the victim was only 15 years old when the offence was committed and it was clear that the defendant had taken advantage of her when he knew it was wrong to do so.
The defendant was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and three strokes of the cane.