SINGAPORE - A man who was sentenced to 11½ years' jail and 12 strokes of cane for a violent sexual attack on a woman he followed into a lift has been spared caning due to a pre-existing back injury.
On Monday (June 29), Mohammad Fadil Othman, 36, was given an extra six months' jail in lieu of caning.
High Court judge See Kee Oon agreed with prosecutors that the additional jail time was warranted to compensate for the deterrent and retributive effects of caning.
Under the law, when an offender is found medically unfit to be caned, the court may remit the sentence of caning or impose an additional jail term of up to 12 months.
Fadil was sentenced in March this year after he pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated sexual assault by penetration.
He admitted that in the early hours of April 20 last year, he was in North Bridge Road when he trailed a 32-year-old woman who was on her way home as he believed she was drunk and would not be able to identity him.
He followed her into the lift of her Housing Board block and grabbed her the moment the doors closed.
During her seven-minute ordeal, the woman tried to crawl out when the doors opened on the sixth floor.
However, she was overpowered by Fadil, who pulled her hair with such force that clumps of it were found later on the lift landing.
When she again tried to escape on the 14th floor, he blocked her and forced her to perform oral sex on him at the lift lobby.
The victim, a Chinese national who arrived in Singapore only five days before the incident, was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
In April this year, Fadil was found unfit for caning due to lumbar spondylosis, a type of arthritis that affects the lower back.
He was first diagnosed with the condition in 2017, according to health records.
On Monday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Joshua Lim argued that the additional term of six months was warranted given the violence used, the psychological harm to the victim and the fact that the attack took place in a residential neighbourhood.
Defence counsel Chong Xin Yi argued that no more jail time was necessary as Fadil had been given a long sentence.