SINGAPORE - The construction worker accused of abducting and raping a woman in broad daylight at MacRitchie Reservoir was sentenced to 17 years in jail and 24 strokes of the cane on Friday (May 19).
Bangladeshi Pramanik Liton, 24, was found guilty of two counts of aggravated rape, one count of sexual assault by penetration, and one count of abduction for illicit intercourse.
His sentence will be backdated to Feb 10, 2015, the day he was arrested.
On Feb 8, 2015, between 1.45pm and 3.35pm, Liton abducted the 39-year-old Chinese national along a trail at the park at knife-point. He then raped her and forced her to perform oral sex on him.
He was arrested at his worksite two days after the incident, after Gurkha trackers located the crime scene and found a jackknife with his thumbprint in the forest.
His semen was also found on the woman's panties, swabs taken from her body, and tissue paper recovered from the crime scene, which was 14m off the trail.
Delivering his verdict at the end of the three-day trial, Justice Choo Han Teck said that Liton's evidence was "bizarre and incomprehensible" and his outright denial was a "defence of desperation".
In an unusual turn on Thursday, Liton had claimed that he did not have sex with the victim, who cannot be named due to a gag order, because she had died from fear.
This despite the fact that the victim is alive and had testified two days earlier that Liton had attacked her. He was in court when she took the stand in camera.
Addressing Liton, Justice Choo said: "Clearly she had not or this would have been the world's first supernatural trial. I see nothing supernatural, only a traumatised woman who has convinced me that you committed the offences upon which you are being tried."
Deputy Public Prosecutor Stella Tan, in asking for at least 20 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane, said that Liton's acts had caused the victim significant pain and left her deeply scarred.
Afraid she would get pregnant, he violated her to get rid of any semen. He also offered her $50 so she would take the necessary "medicine" to prevent pregnancy.
Liton had "acted irresponsibly and with callous disregard for the consequence of his acts," she said.
DPP Tan added that his offences had not only undermined the victim's rightful sense of comfort and security, but also public confidence in the safety of public places, such as parks.
For each charge of aggravated rape, Liton could have been sentenced to between eight and 20 years' jail and at least 12 strokes of the cane.