Ex-CEO who sexually assaulted boy found unfit for caning; prosecutors seek an extra year's jail

SINGAPORE - A former chief executive, who was sentenced to 14 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane for sexually assaulting his son's nine-year-old schoolmate, has been found unfit for caning due to a spine fracture he suffered years ago.

On Tuesday (Oct 22), prosecutors sought an additional one-year jail term - the maximum stipulated under the law - in lieu of caning for the 49-year-old foreign national.

But the defence contended that he should not have to serve any extra jail time.

The case was adjourned to Nov 28, after the High Court allowed the defence to file an affidavit relating to whether the offender requires a mattress in prison and the efficacy of a neck brace.

The offender is currently serving his prison sentence and appeared in court in a wheelchair. He cannot be named as there is a gag order to protect the victim's identity.

It emerged during his trial that he had injured his spine when he fell off an elephant in 2011.

According to an assessment by prison doctors, the vertebrae fracture and multi-level degenerative disc disease made him unfit for caning.

The offender was found guilty and sentenced last year for sexually assaulting the victim at his house in October 2015.

The victim, a friend of the man's youngest son, was among those invited to a Halloween party and sleepover.

The boy testified that he pretended to be asleep when the man entered the room at night and touched him inappropriately.

After the man left and re-entered the room, performing oral sex on him twice, the boy decided to pack his belongings.

The boy then told the man that he was not feeling well, and asked to phone his father to take him home.

Once in the car, the boy told his father what had happened to him.

When the boy's father confronted the man, the boy crouched on the car floorboard and refused to repeat the allegations because he was "very scared".

A few days later, the boy threw away the pyjamas he wore that night. It was on the advice of his school counsellor that his family called the police.

The offender maintained his innocence, offering various reasons for why the boy would falsely implicate him.

He suggested that the boy had lied to escape his father's wrath for having to miss the live telecast of the Rugby World Cup final to pick him up.

The man also suggested that the boy had made up the allegations as a form of attention-seeking behaviour, or that he had imagined the sexual assault because he was shaken by the Halloween atmosphere.

However, these arguments were rejected by the trial judge as well as the Court of Appeal.

The apex court, in August, found that the victim had no motive to falsely accuse his friend's father of such acts. The boy's abrupt decision to go home at close to midnight after an enjoyable party was very telling, said the court.

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