A 37-year-old Singaporean man is currently on trial, facing two charges of sexual assault by penetration and one count of obstructing justice.
The accused allegedly sexually assaulted his wife after a discussion about their marriage in the master bedroom, a case that highlights the significance of the repeal of marital immunity for rape in Singapore as of January 2020. The names of all parties involved in the case have been withheld to protect the identity of the alleged victim.
WHAT HAPPENED :
The court documents reveal that the man and his wife, now 38, were married in 2012 and have two children together. Their troubled relationship took a turn in August 2019 when the man was admitted to the Institute of Mental Health, according to CNA.
Following his discharge, he moved out of the family flat and stayed with his sister and her family.
The prosecution’s case alleges that the accused’s sister requested him to move in with her because she believed her brother’s wife was supplying marijuana to him. However, in July 2020, the man decided to return to the family flat without informing his wife.
According to the prosecution, the woman did not initially agree to her husband’s return.
Various family members attempted to mediate the dispute, eventually allowing the man to stay over for a night. On the night of July 13, 2020, the man initiated a conversation with his wife about their marriage in the master bedroom with the door closed. During this discussion, he allegedly sexually assaulted her without her consent.
The prosecution asserts that the accused’s 11-year-old son interrupted the assault by knocking on the bedroom door to retrieve his mother’s phone to play games. After handing the phone to his son, the man allegedly continued the sexual assault when he returned to the bed.
The woman managed to escape into the master bedroom toilet the next morning while her husband was attending to their nine-year-old daughter’s request for hair serum. Following the incident, the man called his sister and admitted to having done something wrong to the victim.
His wife lodged a police report on the morning of July 14, 2020, accusing her husband of sexual assault. He was subsequently arrested and admitted to the police that his wife had not consented to the sexual act.
Marital immunity for rape used to be a legal rule in Singapore, which meant that spouses couldn’t be charged with raping each other. This rule was based on the idea that marriage implied consent for sex. However, in January 2020, Singapore changed the law to get rid of this rule. Now, no one can force their spouse into sex without their consent, and it’s considered a crime, even within a marriage. This change was made to protect the rights and safety of all individuals, whether married or not, and reflects a more modern view of marriage and consent.
In October 2020, after the man was charged in court, he allegedly attempted to influence the case by contacting his mother-in-law multiple times. In these calls, he reportedly asked her to persuade his wife to withdraw the sexual assault allegation. The mother-in-law recorded these conversations and forwarded them to the investigating officer.
In these phone calls, the accused allegedly offered various incentives, including paying any fines his wife might incur for withdrawing the allegation and suggesting that their children could be placed in foster care if she did not comply. He also mentioned that their case could become public, but claimed there was a “strong possibility” of his acquittal.
While the man had a history of drug-induced psychosis and major depressive disorder with psychotic features, he had been in remission before the alleged offenses.
The trial continues, with the accused’s sister testifying on the circumstances of their marriage.
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