SINGAPORE - A 40-year-old man who drove a drunk woman back to his home from nightspot Zouk and raped her while she was passed out was on Monday (Nov 13) sentenced to 13½ years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane.
Ong Soon Heng is appealing against his conviction and sentence.
He was convicted in July of abducting and raping the then 22-year-old undergraduate, who was an intern in his friend’s company, in the early hours of July 24, 2014.
Surveillance footage showed Ong hauling the woman's limp body over his shoulder at Zouk and placing her in the back seat of his car. He then drove her to his home and raped her while she was passed out.
She was found in a stupor by her boyfriend after he tracked her down using the Find My iPhone app when she went silent on her phone.
Prosecutors had sought at least 14 years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane. The defence asked for 10 years’ jail and six strokes of the cane.
Ong and the woman, who is 15 years his junior, were at Zouk with friends for a farewell party. She became intoxicated and unconscious as the night wore on.
One of her friends testified that Ong and the woman were kissing “mouth to mouth” in the club, but she found it “weird” as she knew the woman already had a boyfriend.
She said that during the kiss, the victim was “standing up but wasn’t very stable”.
The friend said she “trusted” Ong when he claimed he would drive the unconscious woman home.
Instead, at about 4am, Ong carried the victim out of Zouk and drove her to his Hume Heights house, where he had sex with her.
Meanwhile, the victim’s boyfriend had a feeling something was amiss. Although they had exchanged text messages earlier in the night, he noticed she later stopped responding to his calls and text messages for hours.
So he logged into her Apple account and the Find My iPhone app showed her device to be at Hume Heights.
At about 6.30am, he tracked her down and found her lying in a stupor on a mattress with Ong.
The boyfriend testified that Ong immediately denied that he had done anything with her. The victim’s boyfriend said the woman, who was dressed in Ong’s boxer shorts and T-shirt, could barely open her eyes or stand, and he had to drag her out of the house.
Her family took her to the hospital, suspecting she had been drugged. A medical examination at 12.45pm found the victim had 62mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
A medical report later estimated her blood alcohol concentration to be between 210.50mg and 254.50mg per 100ml of blood, when she was at Ong’s home. The report said she was severely intoxicated and highly unlikely to have had consensual sex at the time.
The woman’s father also testified during the trial, recounting how he had tried to find out what had happened to her. He recorded two conversations with Ong, which he later submitted to the police.
The 57-year-old father broke down in court as he recounted how he had to break the news to his family, including his daughter, that she had been raped.
In his defence, Ong claimed that he had been in an intimate relationship with the woman. He also claimed that the woman was not that drunk, and was able to consent to sex.
However, his claims were rejected by the court.
During sentencing on Monday, Justice Aedit Abdullah said Ong had exploited the opportunity to be alone with the victim because the others thought he was taking her home.
However, this exploitation did not amount to premeditation. The judge reiterated that there was no evidence that Ong had plied her with drinks.
He found that Ong had formed the intention to rape her at some point after he drove off from the club.
The judge said it was clear that the victim was “greatly harmed by the criminal act of the accused”.
He noted that all rape victims suffer trauma but the psychological impact on the victim, while substantial, was not post-traumatic stress disorder, which would bring the case into a higher sentencing band.
When asked for his views on the sentence, the victim’s father, who was in court, told reporters: “He deserves what he deserves.”
He said he has been regularly attending court sessions as he wanted to hear what else Ong had to say. Ong’s defence, he said, “added more insult to my daughter”.