Man paid witnesses to testify, says DPP

A man facing more than 23 years in jail for sexually abusing his daughter paid witnesses to come forward to testify for him in an appeal, the High Court heard yesterday.

The prosecution claims the man enticed the two witnesses to testify at the appeal hearing that his penis was deformed, a condition that rendered him unable to have carried out the attacks on the girl.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the girl's identity, had appealed against his sentence of 23½ years' jail and the maximum 24 strokes of the cane handed down in March last year.

He was convicted of sexually abusing his daughter from the end of 2011 to April 2014, when the girl was aged between 11 and 13.

One of the witnesses later declined to be called to give evidence in court. The other, Mr Muhammad Ridzwan Idris, will testify at a hearing today. Mr Ridzwan and the man are casual acquaintances who used to play soccer together, said the man.

The man told the High Court yesterday that Mr Ridzwan can prove that his daughter "was not telling the truth".

He said he had bumped into Mr Ridzwan by chance in Bussorah Street in February this year and he agreed to testify for him after hearing of his plight.

The court heard that Mr Ridzwan had seen the man's penis while the two were at a public urinal in 2013 and Mr Ridzwan had remembered it because of its unusual shape.

But Deputy Public Prosecutor April Phang said the man was making it all up "like the disingenuous storyteller" he is.

She pointed out that the man had not put forward a single witness to corroborate his story about his deformed penis for more than two years, from when he was charged in 2015.

Yet in less than a month, he was able to find "two witnesses with the exact same testimony", noted the DPP in court.

Mr Ridzwan had apparently drawn the man's penis from memory as evidence, but the drawing was "strikingly similar" to a photograph of the penis that was taken after the offences, she added.

DPP Phang told the court that the man had provided the photograph to copy from because Mr Ridzwan had never seen his penis in 2013 or any time during the offences.

She also suggested that the man had provided some "financial motivation for such sympathetic friends" to testify on his behalf.

The man denied this.

The hearing continues today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2018, with the headline 'Man paid witnesses to testify, says DPP'. Print Edition | Subscribe