Ex-beach patrol officer gets jail, caning for rape

Pram Nair raped a drunken partygoer at Sentosa's Siloso Beach four years ago.
Pram Nair raped a drunken partygoer at Sentosa's Siloso Beach four years ago.

A former Sentosa beach patrol officer who raped and sexually assaulted a drunken partygoer at Siloso Beach four years ago was labelled an "opportunist" as he was sentenced to slightly over 11 years in jail and 12 strokes of the cane yesterday.

Pram Nair, 27, had been found guilty in July of committing the sexual offences on a then 20-year-old relief teacher who was attending a party at Wave House, a club and restaurant located at the beach.

The woman, who was with a female friend on the night of May 5, 2012, had drunk several shots of whisky and orange liqueur before Nair, then 23, approached her group and started chatting.

Nair suggested playing a game that involved him pouring liqueur from the bottle directly into the victim's mouth for 20 seconds. After gulping down the alcohol, the victim began experiencing memory blackouts.

Some time later, the friend decided to leave and went to retrieve the victim's bag at another section of the club. When she returned, the victim and Nair were gone.

During the 15-day trial, which stretched from August last year to April this year, the victim said she was "wasted" and could not remember what happened after her friend went to get her bag. She testified that she woke up on the beach from the pain of Nair raping her. She cried and repeatedly told him "no" but was too weak to push him off.

Two other partygoers walking on the beach called the police when they saw Nair on top of the victim.

When the victim's friend found Nair and the victim, Nair, who was off-duty as a beach patrol officer, told her he had found the victim at the spot naked. He walked away but was later arrested nearby.

During his trial, Nair denied that the victim was drunk. He said she had flirted with him that night and agreed to have sex with him.

But Justice Woo Bih Li did not buy his story and found him guilty of one count of rape and one count of sexual assault by penetration.

The judge, however, disagreed with prosecutors that Nair's crimes were calculated and deliberate.

Noting that the victim went to the party for drinks and had already taken other drinks before Nair came into the picture, he said it was an "exaggeration" for prosecutors to say that he had plied her with alcohol to get her drunk.

"In my view, he was opportunistic when he saw her uninhibited behaviour, but his conduct was not premeditated," said the judge.

He imposed a sentence of 11 years and 19 days' jail as well as 12 strokes of the cane. The jail term took into account the fact that Nair had been remanded for 11 months and 11 days after his arrest.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2016, with the headline 'Ex-beach patrol officer gets jail, caning for rape'. Print Edition | Subscribe