SINGAPORE, April 27 — A 49-year-old man had his appeal against his conviction and sentence for raping two 14-year-old girls in 2017 dismissed by the Court of Appeal today.
Isham Kayubi, who turns 50 in June, was sentenced to 32 years’ jail and the maximum 24 strokes of the cane on Feb 5.
Rape of a minor carries a maximum punishment of 20 years’ jail and the possibility of a fine or caning.
Delivering its grounds of judgment, the Court of Appeal — comprising Judges of Appeal Andrew Phang and Steven Chong, and Justice Quentin Loh — said they agreed with Justice See Kee Oon, who presided over Isham’s trial, that the man had performed sexual acts on the victims against their consent.
The panel of judges added that there is no evidence to support the argument Isham had made — that he was a victim of a conspiracy or that there was a fabrication of evidence.
The hearing was held through the video-conferencing platform Zoom in light of the Covid-19 circuit breaker measures.
‘Clear lack of consent’
During Isham’s earlier trial, the court heard that he was a member of a motorcycle gang known as Black Pirate.
He had threatened his victims by saying that he would call his friends over to gang-rape them if they refused to have sex with him.
He raped the girls at his house in Jurong and filmed the acts on his mobile phone, then threatened to make the videos “go viral” if they told anyone about what happened.
Isham claims that the victims willingly had sex with him but the apex court saw “no reason to disturb” Justice See’s findings on the veracity of the victims’ accounts.
“The victims say that they only complied with the appellant’s demands out of fear,” said Judge Phang, adding that this was supported by other witnesses and objective evidence.
“There was a clear lack of consent.”
On Isham’s point that he was a victim of a conspiracy, Judge Phang said “notable parallels” could be drawn between the victims’ testimonies.
Both victims had said they agreed to go to Isham’s house believing that they had taken on a job, but ended up getting raped.
“It is unclear how the victims, who did not know one another, could have independently fabricated such similar narratives,” said Judge Phang.
On Isham’s appeal against his sentence, Judge Phang said the panel agreed with Justice See that the sentence was justified as there were a number of aggravating factors.
“The appellant specifically targeted vulnerable victims who, by virtue of their youth, are susceptible to manipulation and abuse,” he said.
He also pointed out that Isham had been previously convicted in 2008 for another sexual act on a girl under 16. Judge Phang agreed with the High Court’s view that Isham had demonstrated an “alarming pattern of predatory behaviour” towards vulnerable members of society and was not remorseful.
He had actively sought to disrupt his trial: judge
Earlier today, Isham said that he needed a lawyer to represent him but was unable to get one due to the Covid-19 circuit breaker restrictions which were imposed on April 7 to curb the spread of the disease.
But Judge Phang said that Isham had been “actively seeking” to disrupt his trial with his “bizarre” behaviour and his request for legal representation was another tactic to achieve this outcome.
At an earlier hearing in September, Isham urinated in court and flashed his genitals at Justice See.
When the trial began in January, the court heard that he was not suffering from any mental health issues and was just “malingering”.
But he proceeded to defecate in his pants, smear faeces on his top and a glass panel in the courtroom and mumble incoherently under his breath.
Isham was not represented by a lawyer after his previous ones, assigned to him under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, discharged themselves in 2018.
Judge Phang pointed out that Isham had “ample time and opportunity” to seek alternative legal representation. — TODAY