SINGAPORE: Feeling attracted to a nine-year-old girl he had spotted at a bus stop, a young man alighted from the bus and followed her home, molesting her and showing her his privates.
While on bail for these offences, Mohammad Fazly Zakaria, now 22, began dating a 13-year-old girl and sexually assaulted her in a cinema.
For his crimes, Fazly was sentenced on Friday (Oct 4) to two years and one month in jail.
He had pleaded guilty to four charges including sexual penetration of a minor under 14, molesting a minor and wrongful restraint. Three more charges were taken into consideration.
The court heard that Fazly had committed the first set of offences on Aug 16, 2018.
He had been in a bus along Bedok North Road that night when he saw a nine-year-old girl at a bus stop.
He felt attracted to her and wanted to get close to her, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Goh Sue Jean.
HE ALIGHTED FROM THE BUS AND TRACKED DOWN THE GIRL
Fazly alighted at the next bus stop and walked back to the stop where he had seen the girl.
She was boarding a bus at the time and he followed her up before sitting in front of her and smiling at her.
He then moved to sit beside the girl and caressed her thigh a few times with his fingers. The girl froze in fear, the court heard.
Fazly then exposed himself and masturbated in front of her, asking her if she wanted to "play with" it and calling his privates "a toy".
The girl turned away from him, but when she alighted from the bus later, Fazly followed her.
He entered the lift with the girl at her block and pressed the button for the fifth floor, after she pressed the one for the sixth.
He asked the girl to "help him with something", to which she immediately responded no.
When the doors opened on the fifth level of the block, Fazly tried to pull the girl out of the lift by her hand.
The girl screamed for help and tried to resist him, but could not.
She tried running up the stairs to the sixth storey, but Fazly gripped her hand tightly and held her from behind to prevent her from escaping, covering her mouth.
He then carried her to the staircase landing between the fourth and fifth levels, while the girl tried to resist by holding onto the handrails.
She began to cry, and Fazly apologised to her and released her from his grip. She ran home via the stairs as he fled.
Her grandmother later called the police, and Fazly was investigated and released on court bail.
WHILE ON BAIL, HE DATED TEEN AND SEXUALLY ASSAULTED HER
A few months after this, in late 2018, Fazly met a 13-year-old girl online and began dating her.
They sent each other sexually explicit photos and videos, and hugged and kissed each other, the court heard.
On Dec 31, 2018, they went to watch the movie Aquaman at Tampines Mall.
During the movie, they kissed and hugged, and Fazly molested and sexually assaulted her.
They sent each other provocative texts after the film and Fazly told the girl to "just say no" if a police officer were to question her.
"That's the way it works. If you don't confess to anything, they don't have proof," he said.
The teenager's mother checked her bag on Jan 1, 2019 after sensing that something was amiss.
She found a packet of cigarettes and alerted the girl's stepfather, who checked her phone and text messages.
The two adults insisted that Fazly meet them and called the police when he arrived.
FAZLY A "PROFOUNDLY CORRUPTING INFLUENCE": JUDGE
District Judge Marvin Bay on Friday said Fazly's acts span a diverse range of sexual offending against two victims.
"You are also a profoundly corrupting influence, who had sought out a teenager using social media and mobile applications to connect with her," said the judge.
He said Fazly then offended again while on bail, digitally violating a 13-year-old victim while on a movie date "to a point that she had been concerned that she had somehow lost her virginity".
"You had then made disparaging remarks about her private parts, and far more significantly; then sought to coach her to lie to police to cover your tracks," said the judge.
He said Fazly's acts have likely caused emotional and psychological harm to the "young and impressionable victims", as well as "tremendous angst and anxiety to their parents and carers".
Judge Bay said the only points in his favour were his clean criminal record and the fact that he had just turned 22.
Generally, rehabilitation is the dominant consideration for young offenders, said the judge. However, this can be displaced where the crime is heinous, the offender highly culpable, the harm caused is severe and the offender is recalcitrant.
"In your case, all the stated factors are present," he said. "Your commission of the offence while on bail shows a wholesale contempt for the law."
The judge said he categorically ruled out probation or other alternative rehabilitative sentencing regime as appropriate for his case.
"While I am mindful of your relative youth, it is nevertheless essential to send a clear and unequivocal signal that sex offenders who prey on the young, whatever their age, must and will be sternly dealt with in our courts," he said.
For sexually penetrating a minor under 14, Fazly could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned.