SINGAPORE: A man who was sentenced to 14 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane for sexually assaulting a boy during a Halloween sleepover in 2015 has been found to be unfit for caning, a court heard on Tuesday (Oct 22).
The hearing was to decide the length of any additional jail term the 49-year-old man has to serve in lieu of caning. The prosecution submitted that the man should serve an additional year, with the defence asking for none.
An officer from the prison certified the man as unfit for caning as he has "previous lumbar spine fracture" and "multilevel degenerative disc disease".
The man, who is currently serving his sentence and cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, turned up in a wheelchair.
The court was told in previous hearings that the father of three had a spinal injury and a related neck injury stemming from an incident in 2011 when he fell from an elephant.
He had also turned up for hearings in a neck brace and had been unable to attend court due to increased blood pressure.
The judge granted defence lawyer Selva Kumara Naidu his request for an adjournment to "elicit further facts" on his client's medical condition.
This could be in the form of an affidavit by a doctor, or from his client himself, who turns 50 on Wednesday next week.
"Essentially the main point that is disputed is whether he needs a mattress," observed Justice See Kee Oon.
"And the efficacy of the neck brace," added Mr Naidu.
The prosecution objected, saying that Tuesday's hearing was on the term of imprisonment in lieu of caning, and that the prosecution had "taken pains" to check with the prison officer on certain points the defence lawyer had made in his arguments.
"We would also add that whether he requires a mattress is not (a point) that is relevant to the issue before the court today," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheryl Yeo.
However, the judge said the point about the mattress was related to the man's current condition, and so he was prepared to allow the lawyer to take further instructions from his client, but limited it to one affidavit.
He said he was "not minded" to allow the lawyer's request to cross-examine any witnesses at this point.
A medical report obtained by the defence from Changi General Hospital said a mattress will be helpful in the man's condition, but another doctor's report from the prosecution said "it may be helpful but it is not absolutely necessary", the court heard.
Both sides are to return to court on Nov 28.
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE CASE
The foreign executive had been found guilty of two charges of sexual assault and one charge of aggravated outrage of modesty.
He had committed the offences against the nine-year-old boy, who was sleeping over at his home on Oct 31, 2015 after a Halloween party.
He stepped on the lower bunk, where his own son was sleeping, to molest the victim.
In his defence, he claimed the victim could have been hallucinating after eating Halloween candy and had been "sexualised from a young age in his school environment".
In his failed appeal after his sentence, his lawyers argued that the victim had lied to placate his father, who was upset to leave his Rugby World Cup game on TV to fetch him home.
The man has another five pending charges in the State Courts relating to another eight-year-old boy, whom he is accused of committing sex-related offences on.