SINGAPORE: A 34-year-old man was sentenced to 16 years’ jail and 18 strokes of the cane on Wednesday (Mar 14) for raping his biological mother.
“Our minds struggle to comprehend it,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz said.
“For all the vastness of the English language, there is simply no word that even comes remotely close to capturing the horror that would have washed over the victim as she was cruelly and relentlessly sexually assaulted by (the son) she gave life to 30 years earlier.”
The incident happened in 2013, and after an 18-day trial spanning two years, the High Court on Wednesday convicted him of three charges of rape, molest and aggravated molest.
He cannot be named due to a gag order.
The prosecutor urged the court to sentence the accused to 18 years’ jail and 19 strokes of the cane, citing the “severe harm” the mother suffered at the hands of her son.
A psychiatrist had testified that the woman, who is in her 50s, suffered from Acute Stress Disorder following the traumatic experience of the rape.
“Your Honour would have observed her (the victim) crying quietly on the stand … during her testimony,” the prosecutor said.
Though mother and son never shared a close relationship, she invited him to live with her and her second husband in their one-bedroom flat.
The accused had nowhere to live, and the mother talked her husband into allowing her son to live with them in the “tiny flat with one bed, a cupboard, a small table, a toilet and a makeshift kitchen”, said the prosecutor.
They made room for the accused, who slept on a mattress on the floor at the foot of the bed.
“Despite the inconveniences, the mother never once questioned her safety in her son’s presence … (he was) her flesh and blood,” said the prosecutor.
However, the accused’s actions in the early hours of Oct 4, 2013 “forever shattered the sacred bond between mother and son”, she told the court.
At about 2.30am, while they were alone at home, the accused pinned his mother to the bed and molested and raped her – twice – despite her pleas for him to stop.
At trial, the man’s legal team, led by Senior Counsel Harry Elias, argued that the accused had been framed by his mother and her husband.
They had “colluded … to make a false report that (the accused) had raped (his mother) in order to permanently get him out of (the flat) and their personal space”, Mr Elias told the court on Wednesday.
It is undisputed that the accused was “a nuisance” to his mother and her husband and “a thorn in their lives”, the lawyer said. “They needed to put him away for good.”
The prosecutor later shot back, saying that the victim “learnt what it meant to be re-victimised when the defence made the outrageous submission that she could have ‘shut the gates’ by crossing her legs”.
“After enduring a sexual assault at the hands of her son, (she) was assaulted at trial by scandalous questions designed to attack her, to (portray her as) a loose woman, a terrible mother and a liar,” the prosecutor said.
“This preposterous submission is premised on the antediluvian notion that a woman can resist a rapist if she really wants to. There is absolutely no room for such statements in the 21st century – in this court and outside of it,” she added.
For rape, the man could have been jailed for up to 20 years and caned.