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Husband convicted of sexually assaulting wife, urging mother-in-law to get allegations dropped



Husband convicted of sexually assaulting wife, urging mother-in-law to get allegations dropped

This is the first such conviction since marital immunity for rape was fully repealed in January 2020.
Husband convicted of sexually assaulting wife, urging mother-in-law to get allegations dropped

A view of the Singapore skyline and the Supreme Court on Jul 1, 2019. (File photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

Lydia Lam
09 Apr 2024 05:18PM (Updated: 09 Apr 2024 06:01PM)

SINGAPORE: A man was convicted on Tuesday (Apr 9) of sexually assaulting his wife and obstructing justice by asking his mother-in-law to get his wife's allegations dropped.
This is the first such conviction since marital immunity for rape was fully repealed in Singapore in January 2020.
The 38-year-old Singaporean man had contested two charges of sexual assault by penetration and one count of obstructing justice, but Justice Hoo Sheau Peng convicted him of all charges.
He married his wife, now also 38, in 2012, and they had a son and a daughter together. They are still legally married.
The parties involved in the case cannot be named as there is a gag order in place to protect the victim's identity.
At the time of the sexual assault, the woman had allowed her husband to stay over at their marital flat after a family meeting with other relatives.
Before that, he had moved out over some conflicts and had been staying with his sister.
On the night of Jul 13, 2020, the man was in the master bedroom with his wife when he began talking about their marriage, which led to a heated argument.
He then suddenly pulled down his wife's clothes and sexually assaulted her. He was interrupted by his son who knocked on the door but resumed his assault and stopped only after his wife fled to the toilet when their daughter knocked on the door.


At trial, the man acknowledged that the sexual acts had taken place but argued that he thought his wife had consented.
To prove sexual assault by penetration, the prosecution must prove two things – that the act occurred, and that the victim did not consent.
The man, who was defended by Mr Vinit Chhabra, argued that he had gone on top of his wife during the argument and that she had given him "a seductive look" and pouted.
He claimed that his wife kissed him back, and that while she said "no", she continued to look at him "seductively" and appeared to "enjoy" the acts.

In contrast, the wife testified that she twisted her legs tightly as she did not want to have sex with her husband at that time, and that she had asked him to stop.
The man also pointed to other aspects of his wife's behaviour to cast doubt on her credibility. For example, she was able to sleep in the same bed as him after the acts, and made no mention of the sexual assault to her family members until after she made a police report.
Justice Hoo accepted the victim's explanations regarding the man's claims.
She said the woman had explained her state of shock and confusion, and how she tried to maintain an air of normalcy as she did not want to involve their children in their disputes.
She also said she did not want to tell anyone about what happened before filing a police report as she did not want anyone to change her mind.
The woman had informed her mother soon after making the police report, and said she did not have the kind of relationship with her father to say he was her protector, and so did not tell him about it.
The man also called a friend to testify that his wife was the more assertive of the couple and that she would have "aggressively resisted" any unwanted sexual acts.
The judge noted that the woman had explained her fear of running away, as the last time she had attempted this, her husband twisted her knee and injured her. A medical report supported this.


Explaining why she was convicting the man, Justice Hoo pointed to initial messages he had exchanged with his sister, as well as a video-recorded interview he had with the police.
From the messages and interview, he admitted knowing his wife had not consented and said he was "ashamed" of himself for having "no control".
However, in their testimonies in court, both the man and his sister gave accounts contrary to these early statements.
The man said he mistakenly believed his wife had consented, while the sister said the messages did not reflect any admission by her brother that the victim had not consented.
The judge rejected both arguments, saying the messages in their totality clearly referenced the victim and showed that the sister was aware of the sexual nature of the acts.
She had assured her brother that his actions would not "go in" as rape, but maybe as "molest", even if the victim was his wife.
In the sister's police statement in July 2020, she said her brother had told her that he did "something wrong" and tried to force himself to "make love" to his wife.
In court, however, the sister claimed to be unaware of the victim's lack of consent and the sexual nature of what her brother did.
Justice Hoo found that her credit had been impeached and that the police statement she had provided in 2020 should replace her evidence in court.
The man had argued that his wife's chief motive was to obtain more favourable terms in a divorce she was planning, such as full custody of their children and ownership of their flat.
The judge found that the man's first video-recorded interview with the police and his initial communications with his sister were the most reliable in the "shifting" evidence he gave.
She accepted the victim's testimony, calling it credible and believable.
The man also denied having the intention to obstruct justice in his calls to his mother-in-law, which the older woman recorded.
In the calls, he said he would consent to a personal protection order application from his wife if she withdrew the allegations of sexual assault, and that his lawyer had informed him that she could withdraw them.
If she withdrew them, he would pay her fine if she were to be charged over the matter, he said.
If she did not withdraw the allegations, the man told his mother-in-law, then their children could end up in foster care and the case would be published in the papers.
He also said there was a "strong possibility" that he would be acquitted.
Justice Hoo dismissed his claim that he did not intend to obstruct justice.
He had said that he only wished to settle issues relating to the couple's legal proceedings. He also claimed to have been concerned that his defence would rely on revealing his wife's involvement in cannabis consumption, which would get her into trouble.
However, Justice Hoo said he had already informed the police and doctors from the Institute of Mental Health about his wife's cannabis consumption.
"The offer to pay her fine is telling," said Justice Hoo, as it showed his intention to influence the woman over the sexual assault allegations, notwithstanding any legal consequences that might fall upon her.
The case was adjourned for sentencing arguments. The man was allowed to speak to his relatives, including his sisters, cousin and brother-in-law, briefly at the end of the hearing.
For sexual assault by penetration, he could be jailed for up to 20 years and fined or caned.
For obstructing justice, he could be jailed for up to seven years, fined, or both.


Such cases should not be published, as if a wife can file such reports, what more a date, esp one that wants to blackmail you..oh well let the lady sign a consent form first before getting it on...no wonder the dismal TFR...and the man in this case is too proud of himself, should have declared a history of erectile dysfunction, than the woman will have to proof the evidence of sexual assault...oh and the alleged accusation happened in 2020...

syed putra

Sex is part of the package of getting married n a wife is a sex Slave to her husband..n u telling me women don't want sex?
You need a separate deal. A pre marital agreement giving details of sex schedule, frequency and type of sex required. Current marriage arrangement lack clarity