Accused in rape trial claims he was 'deceived' by teen

Firman is charged with one count each of rape, sexual assault and pretending to be a public servant.
Firman is charged with one count each of rape, sexual assault and pretending to be a public servant.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Man who allegedly posed as a cop insists he is a victim and he did not rape the 16-year-old

A man on trial for raping a 16-year-old girl after posing as a policeman yesterday insisted during cross-examination that he did not rape her but was a victim.

Muhammad Firman Jumali Chew, 30, said he had been "deceived" by the girl, who led him up a stairwell, kissed him, pulled down his zipper and touched him for a few minutes against his will.

He said he did not want the sexual contact, nor did he enjoy it.

The whole time, he looked at the ceiling and held his arms by his side, he said. "I was afraid of touching her," said Firman, a former pizza delivery man who is now a fire safety consultant.

Firman faces one charge each of rape, sexual assault and impersonating a police officer.

 
 
 

The prosecution's case, based on the testimony of the girl and her then boyfriend, is that after seeing the couple having sex at a stairwell at Block 362, Woodlands Avenue 5, on Oct 9, 2013, Firman told them he was a cop. He told the boy to leave and led the girl to Block 359, where he raped her. Firman's semen was found on her underwear.

But he denied the charges and said the girl initiated physical contact after she poured her heart out to him.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz grilled him on his account.

"You want us to believe that a stranger took you to a stairwell, accosted you and masturbated you... You are the victim, not the 16-year-old girl?" Firman said it was what happened that day.

When the DPP asked why he did not walk away, he said he felt very weak at the time.

Firman said he was "helping" the girl by listening to her and counselling her.

He claimed that since his secondary school days, girls liked to confide in him; this stressed him out and led him to quit school.

Firman's wife, Madam Marivic Advincula Manlapaz, 32, took the stand as her husband's witness.

Many screen shots of Internet pages on rape were found on Firman's phone. He testified earlier that his wife had been raped and had used his phone to research the topic. The screen shots include a forum discussion on a gang rape in Woodlands and information on rape and intoxication.

Madam Manlapaz said she was raped in May 2013 by Firman's friend, who had spiked her drink. She said Firman pressed her almost every day to make a report but she did not do so earlier as she was not sure what had happened.

She finally made a report in September 2014. But she withdrew it 12 hours later, after learning that she had to go to the Police Cantonment Complex, where she claimed Firman was manhandled by "10 to 20" officers after his arrest.

The hearing continues today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2016, with the headline 'Accused in rape trial claims he was 'deceived' by teen'. Print Edition | Subscribe