Storeman found guilty of Kallang Bahru rape and robbery

SINGAPORE - After seven days of trial, the High Court on Tuesday found a storeman guilty of raping a woman in his car on a bridge in Kallang Bahru, rejecting his claim that the sex was consensual.

However, Senior Judge Kan Ting Chiu amended the rape charge against Haliffie Mamat to a less serious one, removing the accusation that he had hurt the woman's hand during the rape.

This means that Haliffie, 24, no longer faces a mandatory minimum sentence for rape. If he had been convicted of the original charge of aggravated rape, he would be jailed for at least eight years and caned at least 12 strokes.

Justice Kan did not give reasons for amending the charge.

The judge also convicted Haliffie of robbing the 34-year-old woman of her handbag and various items she said were inside.

While Haliffie did not deny robbing her, he disputed the contents of the bag, claiming that it did not contain certain items such as her purse or identity card.

Both sides will make sentencing arguments tomorrow. For robbery, Haliffie faces between three and 14 years' jail and at least 12 strokes of the cane. Rape carries a maximum jail term of 20 years' jail and caning.

During the trial, the court heard that the woman, who had been drinking alone at Clarke Quay, got into Haliffie's car at about 5am on May 4, 2013, after she failed to get a taxi.

The woman said she accepted the offer as she thought that "Singapore is safe" and she had accepted lifts from strangers before.

She said she dozed off and when she woke up on a bridge, she wanted to get down but Haliffie climbed over to her seat and threw her bag to the backseat.

She said that in the ensuing struggle, he grabbed her right forearm and hit the back of her right hand against "something hard" in the car. She said that he pinned her down and raped her, telling her: "You can't do anything and just enjoy."

After the rape, he drove a short distance but stopped and kicked her out of the vehicle, making off with her bag.

But Haliffie testified that the woman chatted with him in the car, the conversation turned sexual and one thing lead to another. He said she willingly had unprotected sex with him. He denied kicking her out of the car, saying he merely pushed her.

His lawyers cast doubt on the woman's claim that a bruise on the back of her hand was caused during the rape. They argued that it could have resulted from her fall out of the car.

selinal@sph.com.sg