Threesome rape trial: Man gets jail and caning for raping stranger's blindfolded girlfriend

Threesome rape trial: Man gets jail and caning for raping stranger's blindfolded girlfriend

Exterior view of Singapore's Supreme Court
File photo of the exterior of Singapore's Supreme Court.

SINGAPORE: A man who raped a stranger's blindfolded girlfriend on two occasions, playing into the stranger's threesome "deviant fantasies", was sentenced on Friday (Aug 14) to 17 years and 10 months' jail and 14 strokes of the cane.

Srihari Mahendran, 24, had been found guilty in June of four counts of rape, one count of sexual assault, four counts of outrage of modesty and one count of making an obscene film. An 11th charge of transmitting an obscene object via electronic means was taken into consideration.

He intends to appeal the conviction, with a new set of lawyers.

Srihari had met the victim's boyfriend online in 2015 over a pornographic blog and agreed to fulfil a fantasy of the boyfriend - which was to see his girlfriend have sex with another man.

Without the woman's knowledge, Srihari snuck into two hotels where the couple were, in April and August in 2016, and raped and sexually assaulted the woman, with her boyfriend's help.

She became suspicious on the second occasion at M Social Hotel and removed her blindfold to see Srihari leaving the room, and evidence was left in a video recording of one of the encounters as the two men had filmed it.

READ: Former auxiliary officer who arranged for girlfriend to be raped by stranger gets jail

The boyfriend had been sentenced in November 2018 to 23 years and 11 months' jail and 24 strokes of the cane for his role in the crimes. The jail term was reduced on appeal to 19 years and 11 months.

DEFENCE AND PROSECUTION ASK FOR DIFFERING JAIL TERMS

The prosecution on Friday asked for at least 18 years' jail and 18 strokes of the cane for Srihari, which the defence said was excessive.

Lawyers Randhawa Ravinderpal Singh and Trent Ng asked instead for 13 years and four months' jail and 14 strokes of the cane, which is about two-thirds of what the boyfriend received.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Eunice Lau raised two aggravating factors - the degree of premeditation in the case and the vulnerability of the victim.

She said that while the boyfriend was the mastermind of the "heinous acts", Srihari was "crucial to the successful execution of the duo’s perverse plans".

READ: Threesome rape trial: Victim's boyfriend testifies about how he planned 'sex game' with accused rapist

"Apart from the direct pleasure derived from sexually assaulting the victim, the accused also actively participated in the planning and preparation process, and was therefore pivotal to the enactment of (the boyfriend's) deviant sexual fantasies," she said.

Referring to the defence's argument that this case was distinguishable from typical rape cases which involve violence and force, she said that this offence hinged on the deception that the victim did not know it was another man, so "naturally fear won't feature" in this case.

"It was precisely her obliviousness to her surroundings and the accused that led to any lack of resistance on her part," she said.

Defence lawyer Mr Singh said his client was 20 when he committed the offences and was a first-time offender. He also did not have the victim cross-examined, and said the prosecution's requested sentence was manifestly excessive and close to the boyfriend's.

The prosecutor replied that the boyfriend had pleaded guilty and that if he had claimed trial like Srihari, he would have received a longer sentence.

Justice Pang Khang Chau agreed with the prosecution on the aggravating factors and took into account the defence's arguments on mitigating factors like Srihari's youth and lack of previous convictions.

He granted Srihari bail of S$100,000, an increase from S$60,000, pending his appeal after the prosecution tried to object to bail.

The penalties for each charge of rape are a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine or caning.

Source: CNA/ll(ta)

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