Singapore: The Court of Appeal on Wednesday (August 7th) dismissed an appeal against a conviction and sentence by a foreign CEO sentenced to 14 years in prison and 24 strikes on a cane for sexually assaulting a nine-year-old boy during a 2015 Halloween dream.
A 49-year-old man who cannot be baptized to protect the victim's identity has said through his defense attorneys that the victim is lying.
The boy knew his father was watching the Rugby World Cup game on television that night and would be upset if he had to move to the home of the offender to take him home, lawyer Evgeny Turaisingam argued.
READ: Three-year-old father receives 14-year prison sentence, 24 cane strikes for sexually assaulting his son's friend
The applicant, himself a three-year-old father, hosted the party at his home on 31 October 2015, attended by several of his son's friends.
Last year, he was convicted of raping the victim on a bunk bed while his own son slept on the lower bed before sexually assaulting the boy by having oral sex on him.
After the incident, the boy said he was ill and wanted to go home, and his father picked him up and later filed a police report.
Mr Thuraisingam, who is involved in the case and has joined trial lawyer Selva K Naidu, said the boy had a motive to make the allegations.
He also said the victim's evidence was unreliable and inconsistent.
JUDGES DON'T TURN IN
But appellate judges Steven Chong, Tay Yong Kwang and Justice Woo Bih Li were not convinced.
Justice Chong pointed out that there was no evidence that the boy had a tendency to lie, or any disciplinary protocol showing that he did it on a regular basis.
"This is not a simple lie," the judge said. "This is a pretty serious lie, suggesting (the applicant), the father of his good friend, about a serious crime.
"And taking your case the most, he had a headache. Why would his father be upset with his son to bring him if he was not well?" said the judge.
Mr Thurasingam said his father might be annoyed to bring it, as he plays rugby and is quite a distance from his home to the complainant.
He added that the victim's mother and school counselor said the father did not want to bring him.
The boy could speak with his father in French, the defense lawyer added, and no one else could understand the language.
However, instead of telling his father in French what had happened, he told him that he was not well.
"If something awful had happened and he had the natural advantage of being able to speak a language that (no one else understands), why didn't he tell his father?" asked Mr Thuraisingam.
"The question is – is it an unnatural reaction to not saying that," Justice Chong returned. "Some people would react like that and yell at my father – that's what happened to me."
THE BOY BROUGHT THIS "GET ME HERE"
Justice Tay added that the boy had told his father to "get me out of here" in French on the phone.
"If your kid suddenly calls you in the middle of the night, your reaction will be – why don't you try to sleep, but if your kid says 'please get me out of here', your attitude changes," he said.
Mr Thuraisingam claimed that "something happened" when the victim was in the car with his father and that the father called the boy.
Asked by Justice Woo why the line of questioning had not been pursued during the victim's cross-examination during the trial, Mr Thuraisingam said this was because the victim was taking the witness stand before his father, so the significance of the game with rugby was reared only later.
Mr Thuraisingam also claimed that the boy was inconsistent in describing the violence, regardless of his short shorts or with them, and his sleeping situation.
Justing Jong said, "What I find puzzling and disturbing is – a boy can lie. But that is the gravity and nature of this lie. He can say: I had a quarrel with the complainant's son. I had a disagreement. But why did he show up with something so outrageous? It's an outrageous lie. "
He said the boy had no history of "anything nasty" with the complainant and instead had fun playing in his house with Nerf guns and enjoyed going to his home.
"He had all sorts of deterrents," the judge said.
THE COURT DISMISSES THE APPLICATION NECESSARY
After deliberating for 20 minutes, the judges dismissed the appeals unanimously without requiring the prosecutor's office to speak.
"The main point in the complainant's case in this complaint is that the complainant lied to frighten his father, who was angry that he had to bring his son near midnight," Justice Tay said.
He said the boy was nine years old and has not been proven to have a tendency to speak lies, have wild imaginations or have sexual fantasies.
The night of the incident came at the end of two days of fun for him and his friends, the judge said, along with running zombies and a Halloween party.
The boy had fun at the party and collected the most candy, which was not his first dream at home.
"He had no possible motive or reason to accuse the complainant of misconduct. In fact, he had every discouragement against doing so," the judge said.
He added that the boy's abrupt decision to go home was "very telling" and that he was afraid not because he had told his father a terrible lie about the complainant, but that he was "genuinely afraid after experiencing terrible things" to him in the bedroom .
They upheld the judge's decision and dismissed the appeal against the sentence. They also rejected the application for a sentence of 12 cane strikes for two charges at the same time, instead of consecutively, as they were the mandatory minimum.
The offender was given 15 minutes after the hearing to speak with his family, who was present at the hearing.