Retrieved text messages to be used against gang rape accused

"Incriminating" text messages on mobile phones, some of which had been deleted but were recovered, will be used by the prosecution to prove its case against three youths who went on trial yesterday for sexually assaulting a drunk 18-year-old in a hotel room.

In one text exchange, one youth told another that their "story must link up" if contacted by the police. In reply, the other youth advised him to "just say we never do anything".

The trio are part of a group of five who are accused of taking turns to have their way with the victim when she became intoxicated at a birthday party at the Duxton Hotel.

Ridhaudin Ridhwan Bakri, 22; Muhammad Faris Ramlee, 22; and Asep Ardiansyah, 22 are contesting their respective charges in a three-week trial.

Ridhaudin is charged with rape, sexual assault by penetration and molestation; Faris is charged with rape and sexual assault by penetration; and Asep is charged with sexual assault by penetration and attempted rape.

Two others had pleaded guilty last Friday to their roles in the Jan 26, 2014 gang rape.

Muhammad Fadly Abdull Wahab, 20, who had repeatedly persuaded the girl to attend the party and plied her with alcohol, was given 13 years' jail and eight strokes of the cane. Muhammad Hazly Mohamad Halimi, 23, was sentenced to 11 years' jail and six strokes of the cane.

Fadly and Hazly admitted raping the girl in the room, one after another, after the other party-goers had left for Zouk at about 1.15am.

Ridhaudin, Faris and Asep returned to the room before 4am.

According to the prosecution's case, Faris entered the bathroom where the victim was, and raped her. After he came out, Asep then entered the bathroom, sexually assaulted her and tried to rape her.

Prosecutors told the court that the victim is only able to recall fragments of what happened in the bathroom. After the alleged assaults by Faris and Asep, she woke up lying between Faris and Ridhaudin and felt herself being violated by both men but was too drunk to push them away.

When she woke up later that morning, she suspected that she had been gang-raped as she felt pain in her private areas and confided her fears to several friends.

Faris, whose semen was found on her clothes, admitted in a police statement that he had had sex with the girl in the bathroom.

The trial continues.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2016, with the headline 'Retrieved text messages to be used against gang rape accused'. Print Edition | Subscribe