SINGAPORE: A former part-time food delivery driver who was found guilty of rape and sexual assault had his appeal dismissed on Monday (Apr 27).
Isham Kayubi, who turns 50 in June, was sentenced to 32 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane after he was convicted of four charges of rape and two charges of sexual assault against two 14-year-old girls.
Isham was accused of luring the teenage victims to his house in 2017 on false pretences, where he raped them, forced them to fellate him and filmed the process.
Explaining the court's decision in a virtual hearing, Justice Andrew Phang said that Isham had appealed on the basis that the victims had consented to the sexual acts and they were not threatened by him, unlike what the victims claimed.
Isham also claimed that what the victims said is "deliberate falsehood intended to frame him", said Justice Phang.
However, his appeal was dismissed by the judges.
Evidence showed that the victims performed the sexual acts as they had felt threatened by Isham - who said he was a member of a motorcycle gang - while his claim that he was the victim of a conspiracy is unsubstantiated, said Justice Phang.
"(Isham) specifically targeted vulnerable victims who by virtue of their youth were susceptible to manipulation and abuse," said Justice Phang.
Isham previously made headlines for malingering and defecating in his pants in court.
During a hearing in January this year, Isham had soiled himself on the way out of court to the washroom, smearing some of the faeces on his shirt and on the glass panel in the court during trial proceedings.
In an earlier hearing in August last year, he urinated and flashed his penis in court.
During the appeal hearing, Isham argued through an interpreter that due to the current COVID-19 situation, neither lawyers nor his family has been able to visit or contact him. He intended to get a lawyer for the appeal.
Deputy Public Prosecutor James Chew said that he was “latching on to the COVID-19 situation to delay matters further”.
Justice Andrew Phang noted that the “circuit breaker” measures only came into force from Apr 7 and Isham’s family would have been able to visit him between his sentence on Mar 4 and the start of the circuit breaker.
But assuming that his family was unable to visit him, Justice Phang asked if Isham wrote to his family since “a lawyer was so important for you”.
Isham said that he had applied for counsel on the day of his sentence, but no lawyer has been able to visit him due to the outbreak.
The judges also rejected Isham's claim for representation, as he had enough time to seek counsel after his lawyers from the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme lawyers discharged themselves in November 2018 with his consent.
Raising this issue "at the eleventh hour ... is not a genuine attempt to engage counsel", Justice Phang said, but rather "an attempt to stall court proceedings".
Isham's sudden attempt to invoke his right to counsel must be weighed against the victims' welfare whose "anxieties would have been prolonged" if the trial was delayed, Justice Phang added.