Court cuts jail term of man who abetted another to rape girlfriend in bondage tryst

SINGAPORE - The Court of Appeal on Thursday (Aug 15) slashed four years off the jail term handed down to a 28-year-old former auxiliary police officer who had arranged for another man to have sex with his girlfriend during bondage sex without her consent.

Reducing the jail term from 23 years and 11 months to 19 years and 11 months, the court agreed with his lawyers that the original sentence was "crushing" for someone who was relatively young and had a clean record up until the offences.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the woman's identity, had pleaded guilty to two charges of abetment of rape and one charge of abetment of sexual assault by penetration last year.

The High Court sentenced him in November last year to a total of 24 years' jail and lopped one month off to take into account the time he had spent in custody. He was also sentenced to 24 strokes of the cane.

At his appeal on Thursday, the man, represented by Mr Ramesh Tiwary and Ms Diana Ngiam, argued that the sentence was significantly above that for rape offences .

Mr Tiwary said that the trial judge had not calibrated the individual sentences for each charge to ensure that the combined sentence was not manifestly excessive.

He added that the man had offered to testify against the co-accused and pleaded guilty to save the victim from the trauma of testifying in court.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Winston Man argued that the man was not as cooperative as portrayed, noting that he pleaded guilty only last November but the offences came to light in 2016.

The court, comprising Judge of Appeal Judith Prakash and Justices Chao Hick Tin and Woo Bih Li, cited the totality principle in reducing the jail and caning sentences for each individual charge, making a final sentence of 19 years and 11 months.

The principle requires a judge meting out sentences for multiple offences to ensure that the aggregate sentence is proportionate to the overall criminality.

There was no practical change to the caning sentence as the maximum number a person can receive is 24.

The man had cajoled his girlfriend into engaging in bondage sex but she refused when he suggested inviting a third person to join them for sex.

He then came up with a plan for a threesome - without her knowledge - with 23-year-old Srihari Mahendran, whom he had met online.

On April 29, 2016, after tying her hands and blindfolding her, the man let Srihari into the hotel room. He had sex with the woman before Srihari took over.

In August 2016, when the woman arranged a staycation at a hotel to celebrate the man's birthday, he made plans for Srihari to join them.

She realised that something was amiss when she felt two people touching her at the same time and when she removed her blindfold, she saw Srihari in the room. He then left the hotel.

 

The man begged her not to alert the police, but she demanded that he call Srihari back to the hotel. He and Srihari were later arrested at the hotel.

Srihari's trial is expected to take place in November.