Rape ac­cused seeks to re­tract guilty plea

Man, 21, ear­lier ad­mit­ted to rap­ing girl, 15, while she was drunk

The New Paper - - FRONT PAGE - SELINA LUM, LAW CORRESPOND­ENT

A 21-year-old man who pleaded guilty a month ago to rap­ing a 15-year-old stu­dent while she was drunk fol­low­ing a game of truth or dare yes­ter­day in­di­cated that he wanted to re­tract his plea.

His lawyer, Mr Mar­cus Tai, also sought to dis­charge him­self from act­ing for the man, say­ing he had not been paid.

The ac­cused, who can­not be named to pro­tect the iden­tity of the vic­tim, sub­mit­ted a let­ter stat­ing his rea­sons for want­ing to re­tract his ear­lier plea.

While the con­tents of the let­ter were not dis­closed in open court, Deputy Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tor Win­ston Man ar­gued that the rea­sons given did not amount to a le­gal de­fence.

There were also no valid grounds for a re­trac­tion, he added.

He said that when the ac­cused pleaded guilty, he was legally rep­re­sented, had re­peat­edly been told of the con­se­quences of a guilty plea and that his only re­quest was to ad­journ the case as his grand­mother was ill.

“Tech­ni­cally, he has not sat­is­fied the le­gal thresh­old... to al­low the re­trac­tion,” said DPP Man.

Jus­tice Au­drey Lim gave the ac­cused a month to en­gage a new lawyer. The case, which was orig­i­nally sched­uled for sen­tenc­ing ar­gu­ments, has been ad­journed to Jan 2 next year.

The man is one of two youths ac­cused of sex­ual of­fences against the vic­tim on Oct 17, 2017.

On Oct 31 this year, he pleaded guilty to a charge of rap­ing her at the foot of a Hous­ing Board block in Pasir Ris.

Seven other charges, in­clud­ing one each for sex­ual as­sault by pen­e­tra­tion and abet­ment of at­tempted rape, were to be con­sid­ered dur­ing sen­tenc­ing.

AN­OTHER MAN ALSO CHARGED

An­other man, now 20, has been charged with at­tempted rape and sex­ual as­sault by pen­e­tra­tion.

His case is still pend­ing.

In the early hours of Oct 17, 2017, the girl, the ac­cused and an­other per­son were play­ing truth or dare at a void deck when she be­came in­creas­ingly in­tox­i­cated.

The trio were later joined by two other youths, in­clud­ing the co-ac­cused.

As the group left the block, two of them took turns to pig­gy­back the girl as she was too drunk to walk prop­erly.

At about 4am, the two ac­cused waited for the girl when she stopped to re­lieve her­self at the foot of a block and be­came sep­a­rated from the other two peo­ple who had walked ahead.

The two men tried to rouse the vic­tim and when she did not re­spond, they al­legedly touched her breasts and sex­u­ally vi­o­lated her.

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