Man charged with sexually abusing young niece

A construction firm supervisor appeared in the High Court yesterday accused of sexually abusing his young niece, who had looked up to him as a "father figure".
A construction firm supervisor appeared in the High Court yesterday accused of sexually abusing his young niece, who had looked up to him as a "father figure".PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

A construction firm supervisor appeared in the High Court yesterday accused of sexually abusing his young niece, who had looked up to him as a "father figure".

The 51-year-old Malaysian faces a total of six charges for sexual acts with the victim on five occasions from 2005 - when she was just 12 years old - to 2008.

They include one count of rape, two counts of oral sex, one count of sexual exploitation of a child, one count of outrage of modesty and one count of sexual assault of a minor.

The man, represented by Mr N. Kanagavijayan, has admitted to the charge of sexual assault, committed in 2008 when the girl was 15. However, he is disputing the other five charges, including the most serious one of rape, which carries up to 20 years' jail and caning or a fine.

A seven-day trial started in the High Court yesterday.

The alleged victim is now 23 years old. A probation officer who accompanied her to report the offences is among the six prosecution witnesses.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ong Luan Tze said in the prosecution's opening address that the victim regarded the accused, her maternal aunt's common law husband, as a "father figure" after her biological father died in 2003.

The accused abused his position in the victim's life to sexually groom her and performed sexual acts with her without her consent, the DPP contended.

On one occasion in 2005, he sexually abused her while helping her to change her clothes to visit her mother in hospital.

On another occasion, he woke her up and slipped his hand into her shorts.

The trial continues.

Selina Lum

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2015, with the headline 'Man charged with sexually abusing young niece'. Print Edition | Subscribe