SINGAPORE: A man who sexually abused his own daughter from when she was as young as five years old, eventually taking her virginity when she was about 11, was sentenced to jail for 29 years on Tuesday (May 14).
Of his jail term, one year is in lieu of caning as the man is 51 and cannot be caned. He also cannot be named in order to protect the identity of his daughter.
The case, called "appalling" by the prosecution, involved at least seven years of sexual abuse over much of the girl's childhood.
The court heard that the man lived with his wife, his daughter and her younger brother in a flat from 2006.
It was the same year he began sexually exploiting his young daughter, who was five to six at the time. He began by touching her when he had the urge to do so, the prosecution said.
SEX ACTS PROGRESSED TO INTERCOURSE
This progressed to other sex acts to fulfil his fantasies and in 2012, he took her virginity without a condom. She was aged 11 to 12 at the time, said Deputy Public Prosecutors James Chew and Angela Ang.
He continued assaulting her when she went to secondary school. She began disliking what her father was doing to her in 2015, but did not reject him, and realised only a year later that her father's actions were wrong.
"The victim felt confused and had concerns about telling her mother about what had happened, as she was worried that it would tear her family apart," said the prosecution.
The frequency of the acts began to taper off and the last time the pair had sex was in January 2016, the court heard.
GIRL TOLD CLOSE FRIEND, MOTHER TOOK HER TO LODGE POLICE REPORT
In May 2017, the girl told a close friend that her father had been having sex with her. Her friend encouraged her to speak to her mother, and she did so, saying she had been sexually abused by her dad.
Her mother quickly made arrangements for her daughter to move out and stay with an aunt, and later took her to lodge a police report against her husband.
The man was arrested a day after.
He pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two charges of statutory rape and one charge of aggravated sexual assault by penetration, with six other charges taken into consideration.
The prosecution asked for at least 30 years' jail and an additional year in jail in lieu of 24 strokes of the cane.
"This is an appalling case where the victim, beginning at a very young age, was subjected to years of sexual abuse by her own father, the very person she should have received care, protection and guidance from," said the prosecutors.
"Children such as the victim need, and deserve, the fullest protection of the law."
The prosecution said the young child was vulnerable and that the man had gravely betrayed the trust and authority he had, in "conduct of the highest level of perversion and gravity".
"Further, the fact that it was her own father who committed these acts would undoubtedly leave a painful, indelible mark on the victim," said the prosecution, asking for a "substantially heavy punishment".
MAN HOPES TO RECONNECT WITH FAMILY: DEFENCE
The man's lawyer, Sherman Ho, asked instead for 23 years' jail, saying that his client had pleaded guilty and was there to face the consequences.
"He hopes he can come out and reconnect with his family," said the lawyer. "He understands that his family has disowned him."
He added that the man has gone for courses while in prison on anger management and mindfulness and has turned to religion.
Furthermore, "he did not use force" on his daughter, and was himself a victim of abuse growing up.
For each charge of statutory rape, he could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined, or caned.