SINGAPORE: A man committed incest on his intellectually disabled daughter when his wife was not home, first doing so on the pretext of "sexual education".
He received sex acts from her after that on at least four occasions. He would scold her for unrelated matters before accepting the acts from her as an "apology".
The 60-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect his daughter's identity, pleaded guilty on Wednesday (Dec 7) to two counts of incest. Another two charges will be considered in sentencing.
The court heard that the man was aged between 57 and 58 at the time of the offences, while his daughter was 24 to 25.
The victim was born out of wedlock and grew up in the care of her maternal grandmother. She first met the accused, her biological father, in 2008 when she was 14.
She moved to stay with her parents in 2014, when she was 19. She is intellectually disabled and epileptic, and was a volunteer worker with MINDS, a voluntary welfare organisation which works with those with intellectual disabilities.
In early 2019, the accused showed his private parts to the victim on the pretext of educating her sexually, so she would not get pregnant by other men.
The victim complied with her father's instructions to perform a sex act.
ACTS WOULD FOLLOW AFTER SCOLDING
After this, the man received sex acts from his daughter on at least four occasions. It usually began with the man scolding his daughter, such as for accidentally breaking a weight set while exercising, or taking home a used face mask that she found outside.
As a means of apologising to her father and appeasing his anger, the victim would perform sex acts on him.
The acts took place when the man's wife was working, and he would tell the victim not to tell anyone about the sex acts, especially her mother.
On one occasion in 2019, the victim was talking to her father in their flat about how she was physically attracted to members of a Korean boy band.
The accused then showed her pornographic videos and got his daughter to perform sex acts on him. He told her that he was teaching her so she could get "experience" in sexual matters.
He said that if she "serviced other men outside, they might harm her instead", the prosecutor said.
The final occasion took place in early April 2020. The man and his daughter were eating together in the flat when the victim used her own spoon for a common dish instead of the serving spoon.
The man shouted at his daughter about her lack of hygiene and refused to talk to her out of anger.
Feeling sad, the victim apologised to the man later that day.
She then sat close to him and looked at his groin, which according to court documents, caused the man to infer that she was offering a sex act.
She performed the act on him, after which he reminded her to keep it a secret.
However, the victim disliked performing sex acts on her father and felt he was asking her to do them more frequently.
After this latest incident, she confided in her training officer at MINDS that her father had been asking her to perform sex acts.
The case worker accompanied her to lodge a police report on Apr 6, 2020. After that, the victim was taken to a home for the disabled, where she continues to live.
An assessment by the Institute of Mental Health in 2020 found that the victim was intellectually disabled but understood that her father's actions were not right. However, she was unable to refuse his advances for fear of incurring her parents' anger and the ensuing punishments.
A subsequent report clarified that the victim was able to understand the nature and consequence of the sex acts, despite her intellectual disability.
Her disability did not impair her ability to make a proper judgment in the giving of consent to sexual touching, the report added.
The accused was also examined at IMH in 2020. He was diagnosed with major depressive disorder with anxious distress but was unlikely to be in a state of relapse around the time of the offences.
No contributory link was found between his mental health condition and the offences.
NO SENTENCING FRAMEWORK FOR INCEST
Deputy Public Prosecutor Yvonne Poon asked for between seven to eight years' jail for the offender.
She said there is currently no sentencing framework for offences of incest, which are punishable with a maximum of five years' jail.
The charges in this case are read with Section 74A(2) of the Penal Code, which allows for enhanced punishment where an offence is committed against a vulnerable person such as the victim in this case.
Ms Poon flagged four aggravating factors, including the man's abuse of trust in his position as the victim's biological father, the victim's vulnerability and the element of sexual grooming.
She said it was especially perverse that the accused interwove sexual acts into his parental acts as a disciplinarian.
Defence lawyer Joshua Tong of Kalco Law disagreed with this point. He said there was no evidence of coercion, and said that the fact that the scolding and sexual acts took place together was "happenstance".
He argued that this case involved incest offences and said incest is an offence criminalising consensual acts between two adults. Some of the precedents raised by the prosecutor involved non-consensual cases.
He argued that abuse of trust is not considered an aggravating factor in incest cases, and disagreed that there was grooming.
He said his client is remorseful and has spent a lot of time reflecting on his actions since 2020.
He said his client knows his actions were wrong and is pleading guilty, not contesting elements of the charge, but is simply asking for a fair sentence.
In response, Ms Poon said the man tainted the father-daughter relationship by introducing sexual elements, whether it was showing her porn or offering his genitalia to her for "learning purposes".
The judge said he needed time to consider the case and adjourned sentencing to Dec 23.