Rape accused's claims 'incredible'
The prosecution and the defence made their closing submissions yesterday in the trial of a man accused of raping a 12-year-old after meeting her through a mobile messaging app.
He was a selfish man bent on using the young girl for his own sexual purposes, Deputy Public Prosecutor Jasmine Chin-Sabado told the court yesterday.
To show that crane operator Lee Seow Peng had raped and sexually groomed the then-12-year-old girl, as well as attempted to get her to perform a sex act, Ms Chin-Sabado cited the following reasons:
After getting to know the girl, who cannot be named due to a gag order, Lee exchanged hundreds of sexually-suggestive messages with her on May 27, 2012.
He allegedly raped her in the backseat of his car - an act he has denied doing - two days later.
But Ms Chin-Sabado pointed out that one particular message showed that Lee did have sex with the girl.
This was a text from Lee to the girl on June 3 that year, when he said: "Wait I see you and I go hot again than u bec tired again..." (sic)
Ms Chin-Sabado charged that the use of the word "again" referred to an earlier occasion when Lee was sexually aroused by the girl.
This must have been on May 29, 2012 - the only time they met - when he picked her up and drove to the Chinese Garden carpark, she said.
ACCUSED MEANT WHAT HE SAID IN HIS MESSAGES
During the trial, Lee said he had sent sexually-charged messages to the girl, but did not mean what he had said.
"It's just a game in the Internet world. It's not real," he said on Dec 29.
But Ms Chin-Sabado pointed out that Lee had shared his actual age, occupation, and even photographs of his vehicle.
She told the court: "This is inconsistent with his assertion that information on the Internet cannot be believed and are not real."
ACCUSED'S VERSION OF WHAT HAPPENED THAT DAY WAS UNBELIEVABLE
Lee claimed during the trial that he had driven from his workplace in Hougang to the girl's school in the west to meet her to chat and have coffee.
But Ms Chin-Sabado said Lee's version of events was "incredible" given that he drove across the island after a long day of work just to chat for five to 10 minutes with the girl.
"One would note that the travel time far exceeds the amount of time he purportedly spent with the victim.
"The accused brought the victim to a secluded place in the late evening, where there were no coffee shops or buildings nearby as shown by the map. Furthermore, five to 10 minutes is hardly sufficient time to have coffee."
She said the prosecution has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt and urged the court to convict Lee on all three charges.
I did not do it.
Yesterday, Lee, who is representing himself, maintained his plea of innocence based on the following points in his submissions:
NO DNA EVIDENCE
Lee told the court yesterday that police officers had failed to do the necessary DNA tests on the girl and himself after he was accused of rape.
In December, investigation officer Station Inspector Colin Ng told the court that police officers had swabbed the front passenger seat of Lee's car even though the girl was allegedly raped in the backseat.
"DNA could prove everything. In law, what's important is the evidence... Something important (the police) did not do."
GIRL INITIATED SEXUALLY-CHARGED CONVERSATION
Lee told the court he first got to know the girl via an adult chat group on May 27, 2012, and claimed it was she who started talking about sex.
The first message she sent him was a question about the length of his middle finger, he said.
When he asked her why, she replied that the middle finger usually indicated the size of a man's penis, he said.
"Talking about sex... It was not I who initiated it," he said.
PARKED AT CARPARK ENTRANCE
After picking up the girl near her school on May 29, 2012, Lee drove to the Chinese Garden carpark.
He said he parked at the carpark entrance - a busy spot where people and cars frequently passed by.
"That place is not deserted. It's a place for lovers. And if it's a place for lovers, how could you say there was no one around.
"Would I rape someone in such a location?"
Lee wrapped up his submissions by asking Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Peng to find him not guilty of the three charges.
About the case
Crane operator Lee Seow Peng is accused of raping a 12-year-old girl three days after meeting her through a mobile phone messaging app.
Lee, now 39, got in touch with the then-Secondary 1 student online on May 26, 2012. They met three days later when he allegedly raped her in the backseat of his multi-purpose vehicle.
On June 3 that year, Lee allegedly attempted to arrange another meeting with the girl to have sex with her again.
Her mother discovered his message and the girl then told her about the alleged rape. The girl's parents then made a police report.
On Dec 16, 2015, Lee pleaded not guilty to one count each of rape, sexually grooming a minor and attempting to get the girl to perform an indecent act.
Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Peng will deliver her verdict on Jan 29.
If found guilty of rape, Lee could be jailed up to 20 years and given at least 12 strokes of the cane. For the second charge, he could be jailed up to three years and fined. For the third charge, he could be jailed up to five years and fined up to $10,000.