Bid to defer trial by man accused of raping 2 teens denied

A 49-year-old man on trial for raping two 14-year-old girls, who soiled himself in court last week, claimed yesterday that he has recovered from memory loss and sought an adjournment to get a lawyer.

The request, which Isham Kayubi made in a letter to the court, was denied by Justice See Kee Oon, who noted that two prison doctors had testified that he showed no signs of memory loss to begin with.

The judge also noted that Isham had had the opportunity to get a lawyer since the beginning of last year, after his assigned lawyers discharged themselves.

Asked by the judge to give his defence after the prosecution closed its case, he refused to say whether he would be taking the stand and insisted that he wanted a lawyer.

Justice See said Isham's conduct left him with no option but to record that the accused has chosen to remain silent in his defence.

The case was adjourned to Thursday for closing arguments.

Isham's trial was originally slated to start in August last year but he created a disturbance by exposing himself and urinating in the dock.

An Institute of Mental Health report later concluded that he was malingering, and mentally fit to plead in court. A prison warden yesterday also testified that he did not show any abnormality and was able to interact with other inmates.

The trial was rescheduled to Jan 14 but shortly before the hearing started, Isham defecated in his clothes and refused to change out of his stained T-shirt and trousers.

After the dock was cleaned and covered with a plastic sheet, he smeared faeces on a glass panel while court was in session.

A prison doctor told the court yesterday that Isham has been prescribed laxatives since November last year after he complained of constipation.

Isham is on trial on six charges of sexual offences against two unrelated victims in separate incidents after luring them to his Jurong West flat, where he lives alone. The part-time food deliveryman, who turns 50 in June, allegedly raped the girls and forced them to perform oral sex on him while recording the acts on his phone.

Each charge carries up to 20 years' jail, and fine or caning. A man over the age of 50 cannot be caned.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2020, with the headline Bid to defer trial by man accused of raping 2 teens denied. Subscribe