Man gets 29 years’ jail, caning for sexually abusing daughter since she was 10

SINGAPORE (CNA) – A 45-year-old man was sentenced yesterday to 29 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane for sexually abusing his daughter over five years, beginning when she was 10.

The man, who cannot be named due to gag orders protecting the victim’s identity, was convicted at trial of 15 charges of molesting and sexually assaulting the victim between 2010 and 2014.

He married the victim’s mother in 1998 and had three children with her. They began quarrelling, with their marital problems worsening. Their divorce was finalised in March 2012.

The offender obtained joint custody of two children – his son and the victim – while his ex-wife obtained sole custody of their third child.

The abuse of the victim began in 2010, with the accused turning to the victim to “satisfy his sexual urges” following a decrease in sexual intimacy with his wife, the prosecutors said.

The girl was in Primary 4 at the time. She was sleeping in the house when she felt her father hugging her from behind and molesting her, before she felt a sharp pain.

She did not know how to react and went back to sleep. The offender told the victim not to tell anyone about it.

The victim felt “weird and confused” but listened to her father, the court heard. Her father abused her again a few nights later, and thereafter sexually violated her three to four times a week.

His acts escalated from fondling to penetrative acts that occurred at night while the family was asleep. He first sodomised his daughter in 2011.

The victim realised what her father was doing was wrong after she attended sexual education classes in school. However, the offender told her not to listen to her teacher.

The victim told her mother and stepfather about the incidents, and filed a police report on November 19, 2017, only after her mother urged her to reconsider.

Prosecutors called for at least 31 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane, saying that the offender had “utterly failed to act in a manner befitting of a father figure”.

Defence lawyer Mohammad Shafiq Haja Maideen asked instead for not more than 18 years’ jail and 15 strokes of the cane.

He said his client was sincerely apologetic that his actions caused his daughter distress and anguish. This was his first offence, and he had been “a good father” to the victim until committing the offences, said the lawyer.

“The accused also provided for the victim from her birth till he was arrested,” said Shafiq.

For each charge of sexual assault by penetration, the man could have been jailed for up to 20 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane.