A 36-YEAR-OLD pet shop owner was handed a 16-year jail term and 10 strokes of the cane yesterday for raping a 14-year-old student, after the judge rejected his claim that the young girl had set him up.
Toh Lam Seng told the court the student had invented the charge as a way to get back at him for trying to change her wayward lifestyle.
The victim was among a group of teenagers who used to hang around regularly at Toh's pet shop, and she developed a friendship with him.
He said he wanted her to do well in school and told her to keep him informed of her whereabouts so she would not stay out late and mix with bad company.
He denied raping her.
However, three of her friends testified that they had seen Toh dragging her up a hill in a park near Marsiling Road at 2am on March 18 last year.
No one raised an alarm as they said they were afraid of Toh, who had bragged to them about his gang connections.
Justice Kan Ting Chiu did not buy Toh's claim that the victim had set him up, citing a catalogue of past offences.
'You've committed a whole series of offences for more than half a decade, comprising causing hurt with a weapon, theft, robbery and possession of drugs,' he told Toh.
'It's very depressing and all your counsel can say is this is the first time you've been charged with rape.
'It's not the first time you have been brought to court and now, you've raped a 14-year-old on whom you had some influence and instilled some fear.'
When he heard the sentence, Toh shouted in Mandarin: 'No clothes, no evidence, no law,' referring to the lack of DNA evidence on the victim's clothes.
The victim made a police report only on March 27 and by then, the clothes she wore the day she was raped had been washed.
The court was told that Toh had been detained for gang activities from 1997 to 2000.
In 2003, he was jailed a year for causing hurt with a weapon and another year in 2004 for fighting. He had also been convicted of drug possession.
For rape, he could have been jailed for 20 years and ordered to receive 24 strokes of the cane.
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