SINGAPORE: A man who made headlines for malingering and defecating in his pants in court was found guilty of rape and sexual assault and sentenced to 32 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane on Wednesday (Feb 5).
Isham Kayubi, who turns 50 in June, was convicted of four charges of rape and two charges of sexual assault against two 14-year-old girls.
He had lured the two girls on separate occasions to his house on false pretences, raping them, forcing them to fellate him and filming the process.
Isham had urinated during a previous hearing in August 2019 and flashed his penis in court.
However, he was found to be mentally sound and fit to plead, and a report by the Institute of Mental Health said he was malingering.
When the trial began last month, he did not enter a plea, instead mumbling incoherently, said Justice See Kee Oon.
The hearing was delayed after Isham defecated in his pants on the way to the toilet and smeared it on his shirt. He also smeared it on a glass panel separating him from the court interpreter when he was taken back to court.
ISHAM'S CONDUCT IN COURT
"I shall not go into details of his behaviour both in and out of the courtroom on that day," said Justice See.
However, he noted that the accused had twice been certified fit to plead and of sound mind, first when he was arrested and in an IMH report in September 2019.
As the trial progressed, Isham became more communicative and cross-examined some witnesses on the third day of the trial.
However, when called to enter his defence, he gave no response and instead repeatedly maintained that he needed time to get a lawyer.
"I had earlier rejected a similar request, bearing in mind that he was previously represented by Criminal Legal Aid Scheme lawyers who discharged themselves in November 2018 with his consent," said Justice See.
Isham had also been informed by CLAS that he would not be assigned another lawyer, the judge said, adding that Isham had "ample time" to engage counsel before the trial began in January 2020.
He found the victims to be candid and straightforward in their testimonies, and found that the prosecution had proven the charges.
"The victims' evidence was that they were induced by the accused to go to his flat," said Justice See. "He even threatened to have gang members come over to remove their clothes or gang-bang them if they refused to give in to his demands."
Isham threatened to make videos of the victims go viral, and they complied with his instructions out of fear.
In his defence, Isham had claimed that the victims had "conspired" against him to set him up, saying that they were both lying.
However, the judge rejected this, saying he saw no reason for them to fabricate or embellish their evidence, or to falsely implicate Isham.
He also assessed evidence including closed-circuit television footage, as well as video recordings and messages from Isham.
Isham did not testify on the stand, and did not call any witnesses for his case.
PROSECUTORS LIST PREVIOUS RELATED OFFENCES
Deputy Public Prosecutors James Chew and Jane Lim called for at least 30 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane.
Mr Chew listed Isham's string of previous convictions. He had been in and out of jail since 1995 for offences like theft and drugs.
In 2008, he was convicted of offences against four girls aged between 14 and 19. This included charges of carnal intercourse against the order of nature and carnal connections with a minor.
He used similar modus operandi in these offences, said Mr Chew, committing sexual offences against young girls and using his phone to capture the acts.
"We can see that he had actually tried to reach out to young girls randomly and then, using various pretexts, tried to bring them to location where he can commit sexual acts against them," said Mr Chew.
Shortly after his release from jail for the 2008 convictions, Isham was again jailed for drug consumption in 2011 and released around the end of 2015.
He committed the current rape and sexual assault offences about two years after his release.
Mr Chew said the sentencing must deter Isham and that the public, especially young girls, must be protected.
There are "clear parallels" to his previous offences, and Isham's proclivity to targeting young girls must be strongly considered, he added.
The latest victims were young and vulnerable, not just in terms of age but also because they had both run away from home when Isham targeted them and did not have family support.
When questioned by the judge on whether he considered Isham's conduct in court as an aggravating factor, Mr Chew said: "We do recognise that there is a high likelihood that there will be separate action taken for that conduct."
He said the prosecution was not labelling the conduct an aggravating factor, but instead using it as part of the reason for saying Isham had shown a "complete lack of remorse".
ACCUSED MAINTAINS INNOCENCE
Even after conviction, Isham maintained through the interpreter that he was not guilty.
He asked for leniency in sentencing, saying he had been separated from his aged father after being incarcerated.
Justice See said he was generally in agreement with the prosecution, noting that Isham was not a first offender, and that there were previous related offences with parallels to the current case.
"There are clearly aggravating factors that are present in this case," he said. "I do not see any relevant mitigating factors."
He backdated the sentence to November 2017, when Isham was remanded.
He could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned for each charge of rape.