Triple rape Martin Road victim breaks down in court

The 27-year-old woman, who was working as a nightclub singer, returned to China after the rape as the attack left her fearful of male strangers. She flew back here for the trial.
The 27-year-old woman, who was working as a nightclub singer, returned to China after the rape as the attack left her fearful of male strangers. She flew back here for the trial. PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

Trial added to her trauma, says DPP in seeking 17 years' jail, 24 strokes of cane

The woman who was raped three times in 20 minutes by a stranger along public roads broke down on Tuesday when she faced her attacker on the first day of his trial, it was revealed in the High Court yesterday.

Prosecutors are seeking at least 17 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane for rapist Lim Choon Beng, 30, arguing that a deterrent sentence was warranted for his "audacity" in committing the repeated rapes.

"Each time the victim thought that the traumatising experience had ended, the accused shattered her hopes by taking her to a different location and repeating the sexual violence," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Zhuo Wenzhao.

The DPP argued that despite overwhelming evidence against him, Lim chose to claim trial, putting the victim through the trauma of recounting her ordeal in court.

The 27-year-old woman, who was working as a nightclub singer, returned to China after the rape as the attack left her fearful of male strangers. She flew back here for the trial.

Lim raped and sexually assaulted her at three different spots along a stretch from Martin Road to River Valley Close in the wee hours of Feb 9, 2013, the eve of Chinese New Year. He was then 26 and she, 24.

He pleaded not guilty on Tuesday and a trial started with the victim testifying in a cleared courtroom. The next day, he changed his mind and pleaded guilty to four charges, with another four charges to be considered in sentencing.

His lawyer, Mr Anand Nalachandran, assigned to defend him under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, said his client claimed trial to find clarity because he had no recollection of his offences as he was experiencing alcohol-induced amnesia.

Lim, who has a history of alcohol abuse, had been drinking with friends the night before.

The last thing he remembered was holding a shot of alcohol. The next thing he knew, he was sitting on a pavement surrounded by police officers.

A blood sample taken eight hours after the rapes found 92mg of alcohol per 100ml of Lim's blood.

Dr Lim Yun Chin, a defence addiction expert, estimated that the alcohol level could be 292mg per 100ml during the rapes. The legal limit for driving is 80 mg per 100 ml.

The lawyer said his client was also concerned about the lack of DNA evidence proving penetration and had doubts about his ability to rape her, given his level of intoxication.

But after hearing the victim's testimony, he decided to accept responsibility for his actions instead of prolonging her agony.

Sentencing is expected next Tuesday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2016, with the headline 'Victim breaks down in court'. Print Edition | Subscribe