A 45-year-old man who repeatedly sexually abused his daughters, which a judge said was “one of the worst cases” of rape and sexual assault to come before the courts, was jailed 33 years and two months and given 24 strokes of the cane in the High Court today.
Also among his slew of crimes was physically abusing his wife and children, including his younger son. The court also heard how he starved some of his children for almost a week as punishment for not carrying out household chores to his satisfaction.
He sexually preyed on and molested four of his five daughters over 14 years, raping three of the girls till they reported him to the police.
High Court judge Tan Siong Thye said: “He destroyed the cherished values of (his victims’) sanctity and turned their home into a living hell. He caused unimaginable misery and untold torment for years.”
Before the man was finally arrested on Nov 17, 2018, he worked as a freelance camp instructor for children’s adventure camps. His sentence was backdated to his date of arrest.
He cannot be named due to a court order to protect the identities of his victims. Some of them turned up in court and were in tears after the hearing was over.
The man — who was represented by pro bono lawyers Ng Pei Qi and Sadhana Rai — pleaded guilty last week to seven charges of aggravated rape, molestation and sexual assault by penetration in relation to the victim who had lodged the police report.
Another 26 similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.
He had seven children in total — five from his current marriage and the oldest two from his previous one. He has been married to his wife, now aged 41, since 2001.
His children were listed in court documents as:
- A 24-year-old daughter, identified as V3
- A 23-year-old son
- A 19-year-old daughter, identified as V2
- An 18-year-old daughter, identified as V4
- A 16-year-old daughter, identified as V1
- A 15-year-old son, identified as V5
- A 12-year-old daughter
Today, Justice Tan told the court that the man “committed numerous horrific sexual assaults”, only sparing his youngest daughter while using the others as sex objects.
“I am to bear in mind the notorious difficulty of prosecuting intra-familial sexual abuse, which was clearly borne out by the prolonged time for his sexual assaults to be uncovered,” the judge said.
V1 had confided in her sisters V2 and V4 in November 2018 when they saw her leaving their father’s bedroom. He had been raping her for two years up till then.
He first began molesting and showing pornography to his oldest daughter, V3, in 2004 when she was seven years old.
Justice Tan told the court that it was unacceptable that he sexually assaulted the victims when he was given “sole care” of them while their mother left the house at night to work the night shift.
“The abuse of trust in this manner is indubitably an aggravating factor,” said the judge.
On one occasion, the man had taken V1 to their new flat in Canberra, which was still under construction at the time, to rape her there. Justice Tan brought up this example as a key instance of premeditation and the man taking deliberate steps to isolate her from everyone else.
He had also sexually groomed and threatened his daughters, the judge said. When V1 was in Primary 5 in 2016, he “tried to normalise the idea of having sex” by showing her a pornographic video purportedly of a Primary 5 girl engaging in sex acts with her father.
Then, in 2018, he told her that she needed to have sex with him every month or he would stop her from going to school.
As for how he starved his children, which happened during the September school holidays in 2018, the judge described this as “deplorable” and noted that the man “went to great lengths” to ensure they did not have any food or drinks.
He had gotten angry when the three older girls took their siblings to the playground before the household chores were completed to his satisfaction.
He discarded all the food in their home, confiscated what other family members sneaked to them, and even bound large bottles of water in the refrigerator together with rubber bands so he would know if the children tampered with them.
Justice Tan said: “This pattern of conduct points to systematic isolation and starvation of (the children) far exceeding the threshold of mere discipline.”
His physical abuse of the children painted a “disturbing and tragic picture of dominance over his family”, the judge later added.
Guilty plea was ‘self-serving’
Justice Tan then considered whether to give the man a sentencing discount based on his plea of guilt.
The judge ultimately ruled against doing so because the man had only pleaded guilty for self-serving reasons, in hopes of a lenient sentence, and after realising the “avalanche of evidence” against him. His trial was initially set for late last year.
When his daughters left the flat to report him to the police, he looked for them at three police stations but could not find them. Investigators later discovered that he then visited 10 websites, including one that showed an article titled 4 Simple Ways to Cheat a Polygraph Test (Lie Detector).
The judge said the man was not going to admit to the sexual assaults “as he wanted to lie and deny the charges”.
In addition, V2 had already reported him to the police in 2015, but he persuaded his wife to get the girl to lie to the authorities so he could be exculpated.
“He managed to get away in 2015 (and) hoped he could the same in 2018… Even if there was any residual mitigating weight from his plea of guilt, it pales against and is outweighed by the aggravating value of the charges taken into consideration for sentencing,” Justice Tan said.
The judge also imposed seven months’ jail in lieu of 36 strokes of the cane, which the court could not impose given the statutory maximum of 24 strokes.
He referred to the victims’ impact statements where V1 had said she blamed herself for her siblings not having a father, and felt that she was “fighting this emotional battle alone” despite having her family’s support. She has since lost trust in men.
V4 also fears ever having a father figure at home again as it would serve as a reminder of their father’s deeds, the judge noted.
Justice Tan added: “This is one of the worst cases of rape and sexual assault by penetration. He took complete advantage of his very young and biological daughters to satisfy his sexual perversion over a prolonged period.”
Those convicted of statutory rape can be jailed up to 20 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane for each count of the offence. — TODAY