SINGAPORE: Three men were sentenced to jail and caning on Wednesday (Aug 14) after being convicted over the rape and sexual assault of a teenager at a birthday party five years ago.
The 18-year-old girl had gone to the now-defunct Duxton Hotel on Jan 26, 2014, for a birthday party. After she was given too much alcohol, the men, all aged 20 at the time, raped and sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious.
Ridhaudin Ridhwan Bakri was sentenced to jail for 13 years, one month and 13 days along with 13 strokes of the cane, while Muhammad Faris Ramlee was given 11 years, 10 months and 18 days’ jail and six strokes. Asep Ardiansyah was handed nine years, 11 months and 28 days’ jail and eight strokes of the cane.
Two other men had earlier been sentenced to between 11 and 13 years’ jail and six to eight strokes of the cane after pleading guilty in 2016 to their involvement.
Deputy Public Prosecutors Charlene Tay Chia and Gregory Gan had pushed for jail terms of up to 16 years and up to 23 strokes of the cane for the three men who had claimed trial.
Ridhwan was represented by lawyers from Quahe Woo & Palmer, while defence counsel from Intelleigen Legal represented the other two men.
The prosecutors said the victim was “ruthlessly exploited” in her weakened state, with each man “having their turn with her while she was utterly helpless and at their mercy”.
VICTIM SUFFERED POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS, BECAME SUICIDAL
“Apart from the physical pain and emotional torment caused by these violent intrusions of her body, the victim also suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and became suicidal,” said the prosecution.
The woman continued to have flashbacks of the incident more than two years after, according to the testimony of a psychiatrist during the trial.
After leaving the hotel, the victim felt pain in her private parts that persisted for almost 10 hours, and she urinated blood.
She locked herself in her bedroom when she got home, covered her face with a pillow and screamed, and made a police report only two days later as she was concerned about her dignity and embarrassment at having to tell the police the details.
Ridhwan was convicted of a charge each of rape, sexual assault by penetration and molestation, while Faris was found guilty of rape. Asep was sentenced for sexual assault by penetration and attempted rape.
The men had claimed that the victim had consented to the sexual acts, or that they had mistakenly thought she consented.
The prosecution said the victim was “clearly someone who was extremely vulnerable as a result of her intoxication” and had “absolutely no control over her ability to respond to or to resist” being raped by Ridhwan and Faris.
In the aftermath, she felt helpless, confused and ashamed at being sexually assaulted, the court heard.
As she had only fragmented memories of the incident, she realised only much later in 2015 that a total of five men had assaulted her.
The prosecutors added that Ridhwan and Faris “displayed no remorse”, with Ridhwan’s previous lawyer subjecting the victim to “a degrading line of cross-examination when he insisted, despite the prosecution’s objections, on delving into the victim’s sexual history”.
The victim herself said the defence counsel was “particularly upsetting” and that his questions proved that “what happened to me was my fault and for a moment, I started blaming myself”.
Asep, on the other hand, had attempted to rape a defenceless intoxicated person and even though he did not succeed, “this was due to chance rather than lack of effort on his part”, said the prosecutors.
The maximum punishment for rape is 20 years’ jail and a fine, or caning.