SINGAPORE — A man who was found guilty of molesting a five-year-old girl that his wife was caring for was jailed for two years and three months on Tuesday (25 May).
As Tan Wee Tim, 69, is above 50, he cannot be caned and was given one month jail in lieu of three strokes of the cane.
Tan had molested the girl, now 7, on 12 April 2019 by touching her on her bare groin under her dress and underwear.
The girl, who cannot be named due to a gag order, demonstrated the act on a stuffed toy to her mother after the offence.
Her parents engaged the man's wife, known as Ah Kuan, to be the girl's nanny around September 2018, after coming across her advertisement on online platform Gumtree.
The girl's mother arranged to visit Ah Kuan's house to have a look at the environment and to see if her daughter was comfortable with the nanny.
The mother then asked Ah Kuan about her family members. The mother told the court that she preferred the nanny to have daughters instead of sons, as she was concerned that her daughter may be taken advantage of. The couple informed her that they have a grown-up daughter staying with them.
She also wanted to know if Ah Kuan's husband would be at home. When Ah Kuan replied that her husband was retired, the mother accepted it as she felt he would be a "grandfather figure" to her daughter.
On the day of the incident, Ah Kuan picked the victim up and brought her to her flat, where her husband was present. After lunch, a shower and a nap, the girl read a book at the sofa while the nanny prepared dinner in the kitchen.
A while later, Tan joined her on the sofa, sitting to her left. He then molested her, positioning himself in a way that he would not be seen by his wife or anyone outside of the house. The girl felt uncomfortable and walked away from Tan, who told her not to tell her mother about the incident.
The victim testified that she did not shout for help as she thought she had done something wrong and was feeling scared and worried, according to the prosecution. This was not the only time the man had molested her, according to the girl. However, she did not confide in her parents or her nanny.
It was only after the mother was bringing her daughter home on the evening of 12 April that she learned about the incident. Tan was taking care of the girl for a while as his wife was leaving for Malaysia.
During a casual chat asking her daughter about her experience with Tan, her daughter remained silent.
The mother testified on stand, “I repeated my question a few times, I repeated the same question a few times and she remained silent so I actually asked questions... ‘Were you sitting on the sofa, or was Uncle reading the newspaper?’ She did not answer me, so I had to probe many times. And then she told me, ‘Uncle touched my private part'.
The girl demonstrated what Tan had done to her on a teddy bear, at her mother's persuasion. The parents lodged a police report two days later.
Calling for a jail term of at least 30 months, and one month jail in lieu of three strokes of the cane, Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Ying Min said that Tan's act had been "premeditated, deliberate and highly intrusive".
"He would first ensure that his wife was distracted in the kitchen and that the victim was distracted with her book or toys," said DPP Lim.
Tan's lawyer disagreed that the offence was premeditated, describing it as "opportunistic" instead.
For molesting a person under 14, Tan could have been jailed up to five years, or fined, or caned, or with any combination of the penalties.
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