Man who had sex with drunk woman found guilty of rape

Court accepts evidence she was unconscious, can't consent to sex

A 40-year-old man, who drove a drunk woman back to his home from nightspot Zouk and had sex with her while she was unconscious, has been found guilty of abduction and rape.

The High Court, which will pass sentence next month at the earliest, yesterday rejected Ong Soon Heng's claim that the woman - then a 22-year-old undergraduate working as an intern at his friend's company - was able to consent to sex in the early hours of July 24, 2014.

Judicial Commissioner Aedit Abdullah said surveillance video from the club clearly showed that the woman was unconscious at about 4am. This was supported by the woman's co-worker as well as staff at the club.

He also accepted evidence from Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist Guo Song, who used the victim's blood-alcohol level to show that she was unconscious between 4am and 6.30am. It was during this time that her boyfriend found her in a stupor at Ong's Hume Heights home after tracking her down using an iPhone app.

The defence had taken issue with Dr Guo's calculation, arguing that he had not taken into account factors such as gender. But the judicial commissioner said he was satisfied the calculation was proper and justified.

He added that the defence psychiatrist's evidence was that the woman was probably unconscious between 4am and 6.30am.

This was strongly supported by the testimony of her boyfriend, father, and a police officer who saw her at 11am that day, he noted.

"Given her state as depicted, it beggared belief that the accused could have woken her up soon after leaving the club," said the judicial commissioner.

As for Ong's claims that he was in a relationship with the woman, the judicial commissioner said even if this was so, "the existence of any such relationship could not overcome the overwhelming evidence of the condition of the complainant, which ruled out consent".

He added that the evidence did not show there was in fact any intimate relationship between Ong and the woman.

The evidence did not establish that Ong, who was training to be a bunker surveyor, had deliberately plied the woman with drinks at the club. "But I do find the accused had exploited the complainant in a situation of vulnerability, by taking the opportunity while she was drunk to move her to his residence and, there, sexually assaulted her," the judicial commissioner said.

The case has been tentatively adjourned to September for sentencing arguments.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sellakumaran told the court the prosecution will also make submissions on compensation for medical bills, an unusual move that he said was "the first time in the High Court, to my knowledge".

The maximum punishment for rape is 20 years in jail and caning or a fine. The maximum punishment for abduction is seven years in jail and caning and a fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2017, with the headline 'Man who had sex with drunk woman found guilty of rape'. Print Edition | Subscribe