High Court rejects new evidence in case of man convicted of sexually abusing daughter

The High Court yesterday rejected the testimony of a witness who came forward to support the claims of a convicted sex offender who insisted that his penis was deformed at the time he was accused of sexually abusing his daughter.

"The various inconsistencies and shortcomings, taken together with the fact that the evidence was offered in suspicious circumstances and without any sufficient explanation, mean that the only reasonable conclusion was that the accused and the witness colluded to introduce false evidence," said Justice Aedit Abdullah.

The accused, a 43-year-old food stall assistant, was sentenced in 2017 to 23 1/2 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane for sexually assaulting his daughter.

The man, who cannot be named to protect her identity, was convicted of committing sexual acts against her at home between the end of 2011 and April 2014, when she was between 11 and 13 years old.

A key element of his defence is that he could not have committed some of the alleged acts because his penis was deformed as a result of botched enlargement procedures.

A photograph of the man's penis, taken shortly before his trial began in November 2016, shows his misshapen genitalia, but the crux of the matter is whether these abnormalities existed between 2011 and April 2014.

The girl and her mother each made drawings that contradicted the photograph.

 
 
 

During his appeal last April, the man said he found two friends who could corroborate his story, although one eventually backed out.

The Court of Appeal sent his case back to the trial judge to determine the veracity of the new evidence, before his appeal hearing can continue.

During the further hearing, the witness, Mr Muhammad Ridzwan Idris, testified that he had seen the accused's penis in the toilet when they were working at a stall at the Singapore Expo in 2013. He made a drawing of the penis that was highly similar to the photograph.

Mr Ridzwan said the two met again by chance in February last year. After the man told him about the case, Mr Ridzwan said he had seen his penis in 2013 and agreed to testify for him.

Justice Aedit noted that after Mr Ridzwan told the accused about having seen his penis, the accused did not ask him what he saw. Generally, a match would support the case being put forward, the judge said, but the match here was "suspiciously close".

The judge concluded that the accused was involved in arranging for the false evidence to be brought to the court.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2019, with the headline 'Sex abuse case: High Court rejects new evidence'. Print Edition | Subscribe