Transgender who abused girl cleared of 6 other charges

Woman serving 10 years' jail for sexually abusing teenage girl given stern warning

A transgender who is now serving 10 years' jail for sexually abusing a teenage girl was yesterday granted a discharge amounting to an acquittal on her remaining six charges.

Zunika Ahmad, 40, who is biologically female but lives as a man, was given a stern warning on Feb 23 for each of the six charges, which include causing hurt and fraudulently using a fake Indonesian passport.

This brings her entire matter to an end.

The Court of Appeal had sentenced Zunika to 10 years' jail, after finding that a woman can be just as guilty as a man for the crime of sexual penetration of a minor.

The apex court's ruling overturned an earlier High Court's acquittal of Zunika, who had originally pleaded guilty to her charges.

Diagnosed with gender dysphoria, Zunika speaks, dresses and behaves like a man. She was so convincing in passing herself off as an Indonesian man that her two "wives" did not know their "husband" was a woman until she abused the girl who lived in the neighbourhood.

In sentencing her, Singapore's highest court took into account as aggravating factors the number of offences she committed, and that she abused her position of trust.

But the apex court also took into account that her crimes arose against the backdrop of a genuine romantic relationship developing between her and the victim, that Zunika was not a serial offender who targeted multiple victims, and that there was a low risk she would reoffend.

Diagnosed with gender dysphoria, Zunika speaks, dresses and behaves like a man. She was so convincing in passing herself off as an Indonesian man that her two "wives" did not know their "husband" was a woman until she abused the girl who lived in the neighbourhood.

The girl and her siblings, who were abandoned by their mother, had started going to Zunika's flat in 2011 to hang out with her "daughter". Between March 2012 and December 2013, Zunika had regular consensual sex with the girl, who was between 13 and 14 years old, using a sex aid.

Ms N. Sudha Nair represented Zunika, who appeared via video-link from Changi Women's Prison.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2017, with the headline 'Transgender who abused girl cleared of 6 other charges'. Print Edition | Subscribe