SINGAPORE: While punishing his 11-year-old daughter for failing her examinations, a 34-year-old man began molesting her when he pulled her shirt up.
He "kept on thinking" about the incident and called her in for another "punishment" only to molest her again.
The offender, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his now 15-year-old daughter, was given two years' jail and six strokes of the cane on Monday (May 10).
The court heard that the man lived with his wife and three children at the time of the offences. Apart from the victim, the couple has two sons.
Sometime in December 2017, the victim was watching television in the living room with her brothers when her father called her into the master bedroom.
He wanted to punish her as she had failed her year-end examinations. After the door was closed, he asked his daughter to sit on the floor and close her eyes.
He began pinching and slapping her all over her body except for her face. When he pulled her shirt up to her armpit, her bra came unhooked, exposing her chest.
The man continued his "punishment" by pinching and slapping her chest, later admitting that he had the "desire" to touch her breasts when he saw them.
When the victim asked if the punishment was over, the accused said "yes" and let her go.
HE WANTED TO MOLEST HER AGAIN
After the incident, the man "kept on thinking" about his daughter's chest. As he wanted to molest her again, he called her into the master bedroom again the following day.
The girl had been reading a book in her room, but went to her father's bedroom as instructed, while her brothers were in the living room.
The offender asked the victim to close her eyes after closing the bedroom door, before unhooking her bra.
He then molested her. After waiting for about two minutes, the victim asked her father is the punishment was over, but he replied that it was not over yet.
Feeling uncomfortable, the victim opened her eyes and began crying as she was afraid. Her father then told her the punishment was over and she could leave.
The crimes came to light in January 2018, after the girl told a friend in school what had happened and the school was alerted to the incident. The victim's mother was informed and the girl was taken to a hospital, where staff members later alerted the authorities about a case of sexual assault.
The prosecutor sought at least two years' jail and six strokes of the cane for the man. She said the degree of sexual exploitation was high, with skin-on-skin contact that cannot be described as fleeting.
There was also deliberation on the man's part, as he had asked the victim to go into the master bedroom and closed the door so that she was separated from her two brothers.
He had perpetuated the "highest form of abuse of trust", she added.
WIFE HAS DIVORCED HIM: DEFENCE
Defence lawyer Shehzhadee Rahman of IRB Law asked that the jail term be no more than 20 months, saying this was her client's first brush with the law.
She added that he had an IQ of only 78, which falls within the borderline impaired or delayed range.
He is "deeply contrite" for his offences, she said. The incidents have caused his family "to break apart", which is "very painful for him", she said.
His wife has since divorced him and his entire family "torn apart", said the lawyer, adding that her client feels "very disgusted" at himself and will never be able to forgive himself.
"Up till this incident he (was) a very loving father," she said.
In response, the prosecutor said the Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist had found that the offender was lucid and in full control of his faculties at the time of the offences and knew what he wanted and what he was doing, despite his low IQ.
On his family being "torn apart", she said: "That's the result of the accused's own actions."
The judge granted the accused his request for a deferment and will hear the case again later on Monday afternoon to decide how to take into account the two weeks he spent in IMH remand.
He could have been jailed up to five years, fined, caned, or given any combination of these penalties for molesting a minor.