Rapist gets reformative training but prosecution is appealing

Loew Zi Xiang, who was convicted of molesting a 16-year-old girl and raping her best friend, was sentenced to reformative training on Thursday (Sept 8). PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A young man who was convicted of molesting a 16-year-old girl and raping her best friend who was known to him was sentenced to reformative training on Thursday (Sept 8).

Loew Zi Xiang, now 20, was found guilty last month after a 10-day trial of using criminal force to outrage the teen's modesty by kissing her on the lips at his flat on Sept 8, 2014. He was then 18 years old.

He was also convicted of raping the first victim's friend, also 16 then, shortly afterwards in his bedroom. The second victim had met Loew on a few occasions over the four years, and shared a "brother-sister'' type relationship.

The prosecution is filing a notice of appeal and successfully applied for the sentence to be stayed, pending appeal to the High Court.

The prosecution had asked for at least six years and six strokes to be imposed, highlighting several aggravating factors.

District Judge Jasbendar Kaur told Loew that the offence of rape was serious, and the court had to pass a sentence with a deterrent effect.

But having considered his age, the pre-sentence report as well as the submissions of the prosecution and defence, she said it would be appropriate to impose a sentence of reformative training.

Reformative training involves an offender between 14 and 21 years old who is institutionalised for at least 18 months and up to 30 months.

In her brief oral grounds last month, the judge said it was not in dispute that the two victims had entered Loew's bedroom and occupied his bed voluntarily. The three initially chatted, played with their mobile phones and joked with each other.

The first victim had testified that she did not feel comfortable when she was in the room alone with Loew. Loew had earlier shown a message, asking the second victim to leave the room to play with his dog, before he molested the first victim.

The rape incident occurred after the first victim came out of the room and left the flat. The second victim had refused to leave together with her friend as Loew had asked her to stay. She had also wanted to play with the dog.

The judge accepted the evidence of the two victims as being compelling and convincing. She also found the second victim's testimony "unusually convincing''.

Loew, who has been remanded since Nov 6 last year, could have been jailed for up to 20 years, fined or caned for rape.

For molestation, he could have been jailed for up to two years, fined, caned or received a combined sentence.

A third charge of rioting was taken into consideration in sentencing.

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