Jail and caning for sexual assault on drunk woman

A homeless man, who spotted a drunk couple sleeping in public beside each other, carried the woman to another spot and sexually assaulted her.

Thiruchelvam Maniam ran away when the 30-year-old woman woke up, and she alerted the police.

The 40-year-old Singaporean was sentenced yesterday to 61/2 years' jail and three strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to penetrating the victim without her consent. A molestation charge involving the same woman was considered during sentencing.

Thiruchelvam committed these offences at a bus stop in Jalan Bukit Merah at around 2.50am on April 20 last year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sruthi Boppana said the woman had gone to a pub with her boyfriend on April 19 last year and they had drunk "a substantial amount" of alcohol with their friends.

The couple left the nightspot at around 1am the next day and had originally intended to walk to the boyfriend's motorcycle at a nearby carpark.

The DPP told District Judge Carol Ling that due to their intoxication, the pair decided to rest on a bench at a bus stop, where they both fell asleep.

Thiruchelvam spotted the couple as he was walking past.

 
 
 

DPP Sruthi said: "He paced around the bus stop for approximately 30 minutes while avoiding being seen by passers-by.

"After ensuring that no one was around, the accused then picked up the victim and moved her to another bench at the same bus stop, away from her boyfriend."

He then made the woman perform oral sex on him and also molested her.

When the woman woke up, Thiruchelvam ran towards the back of a nearby building and flipped the top he was wearing inside out in a bid to avoid detection.

The court heard that the woman burst into tears and told her boyfriend about what happened when he woke up. She alerted the police and Thiruchelvam was arrested later that day.

Urging Judge Ling to give a sentence of at least seven years' jail with three strokes of the cane, DPP Sruthi said Thiruchelvam had "taken advantage of the victim who was in a vulnerable state due to her intoxication".

Defence lawyer Michael Chang, who was assigned to the case under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, told the court that his client was remorseful and ashamed of his actions.

For sexually penetrating the woman without her consent, Thiruchelvam could have been jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2019, with the headline 'Jail and caning for sexual assault on drunk woman'. Print Edition | Subscribe