MacRitchie Reservoir rape: Construction worker gets 17 years' jail for raping hiker

MacRitchie Reservoir rape: Construction worker gets 17 years' jail for raping hiker

File photo of MacRitchie Reservoir. 

SINGAPORE: Bangladeshi construction worker Pramanik Liton was on Friday (May 19) sentenced to 17 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane for raping a hiker at MacRitchie Reservoir Park in 2015. 

Liton, 24, was convicted of four charges, including two counts of aggravated rape, one count of sexual assault by penetration and one count of abduction for illicit intercourse. Another two charges were taken into consideration. Prosecutors had sought a jail term of at least 20 years and 24 strokes.

The construction worker had left his dormitory on the morning of Feb 8, 2015, armed with a 16cm-long knife and waited along the Lornie Trail for “easy prey”. When he spotted the victim walking alone, he approached her and struck up a conversation, pretending he needed directions.

He asked the 40-year-old Chinese national to have sex with him, and when she refused, he pulled out the knife and used it against her. The court heard the woman lost consciousness at one point, when Liton covered her mouth and nose with one hand while pressing the knife to her neck with the other.

He later raped her “so forcefully” that the woman screamed in pain, the prosecution said. Then Liton offered her S$50 to “buy medicine so she would not get pregnant”. DNA tests found his semen in the victim’s mouth and vagina and on her panties.

"BIZARRE AND INCOMPREHENSIBLE" DEFENCE

But Liton denied the charges, and on Thursday, insisted he did not touch the victim, much less rape her. He claimed then that he did not talk to her, but only made sounds.

"I just tried to scare her and she died out of fear,” he said.

“No woman should have to fear she may be abducted and raped at knifepoint while taking a walk in the park in broad daylight, most certainly not in Singapore,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Stella Tan said then. 

In finding Liton guilty as charged, Justice Choo Han Teck called his defence “bizarre and incomprehensible”. “First, it was an outright denial, which against the weight of the evidence seems to be a defence of desperation.

"Secondly, you claimed the victim had died. Clearly she had not, or this would have been the world’s first supernatural trial. I see nothing supernatural, only a traumatised woman who has convinced me you had committed the offences upon which you are being tried,” he said. 

Justice Choo added the victim’s evidence was “clear, cogent and consistent” and supported by the forensic evidence and Liton’s own early statements to the police, which, at trial, he denied ever making.

When asked whether he had anything to say after he had been convicted, Liton said he had “made a mistake that I did not plead guilty in the first place. And also did not engage a lawyer (sic)”. He pleaded to be given the “minimum sentence”. 

Source: CNA/kk