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Woman who made false police report wins appeal

Rajeshwary Batumalai’s stepfather had forgiven her for making a false report against him, and this should be taken into consideration, the judge says.

SINGAPORE: A woman who had been sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail for making a false police report against her stepfather had her sentence halved on Tuesday (Aug 5), after a successful appeal at the High Court.

While Appeal Judge Chao Hick Tin noted that lodging false police reports is a serious offence, he pointed out that the lower courts had not given sufficient consideration to the fact that Rajeshwary Batumalai’s stepfather had forgiven her.

Representing herself in court on Tuesday, Rajeshwary, 38, said she had lied to the police that her stepfather had stolen jewellery worth S$16,000 from her bedroom as she was angry with him for failing to repay a loan from her.

She bore a deep-seated anger towards him and had left home for 13 years due to purported ill treatment by her stepfather, she told the court. The false report on Oct 2, 2012, was also made while she was drunk, she said. Rajeshwary argued that she had tried to correct the matter by calling the police – before coming clean on Feb 26 last year – but her call had gone unanswered.

Prosecutors, however, noted that making false police reports means that innocent people end up being investigated. “In this case, the innocent victim had been investigated and arrested, which would have been very traumatic for him,” they added.

Agreeing with the prosecutors, the judge said it is in the public interest to punish such offenders appropriately, including jailing them. “(We cannot) allow the criminal justice system to be used like what you (have done), as a means to seek revenge against your stepfather,” said Justice Chao.

Referring to the letter of forgiveness her stepfather had penned after the episode, the judge added: “Your stepfather has forgiven you, but the law cannot forgive (you) for what you’ve done.” Nevertheless, he reduced her sentence to six weeks in prison.

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