SINGAPORE, July 28 — A district judge issued a warrant of arrest for a 41-year-old man yesterday, after he did not turn up for a scheduled court hearing over allegations that he repeatedly had sex with a 14-year-old girl while knowing he had the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The Singaporean was expected to plead guilty yesterday morning. He cannot be named due to a court order as the case involves sensitive health information.
However, after half an hour, Deputy Public Prosecutor Andre Ong and prosecutor Jason Lee for the Ministry of Health (MOH) told the court that they were unable to reach the man. He was not represented by a lawyer after discharging his previous ones.
District Judge Kamala Ponnampalam asked them to get the investigation officer to contact his mother, who had posted bail of S$20,000 (RM62,258.27) for him.
An hour later, they told the judge that she did not know where her son was. The judge then issued the arrest warrant and fixed a review on September 2.
Such warrants are issued by the courts to the police or other law enforcement agencies to arrest an alleged offender in instances where they fail to attend court proceedings, for example. Reviews are held if the accused person cannot be located.
The man faces 34 charges in total — 17 counts each of sexual penetration of a minor under 16 and of engaging in sexual activity without informing his partner of the risk of contracting HIV.
Under the Infectious Diseases Act, individuals who know they have HIV or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (Aids) have to tell their sexual partner of the risk. Their partners also have to voluntarily agree to accept the risk.
The girl he allegedly had sex with is now 16 years old,and also cannot be named to protect her identity.
Court documents stated that he allegedly had penetrative sex with her 13 times from September 22 to Dec 3 in 2019.
He is also accused of trying to have sex with her on four other occasions in September that year. It has not been publicly disclosed if she contracted HIV as a result.
All of the incidents allegedly took place around 8.30am in a Housing and Development Board flat in the northern region of Singapore.
Lee, the MOH prosecutor, told the court last year that the pair met while volunteering at an animal shelter and live near each other.
If convicted of sexually penetrating a minor, the man could be jailed for up to 10 years or fined, or both, for each charge.
If convicted of the Infectious Diseases Act charges, he could be jailed for up to 10 years or fined up to S$50,000, or both. — TODAY