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    Jul 15, 2016

    Jail, caning for man who sexually assaulted niece

    A MAN who sexually assaulted his 10-year-old niece in 2013 was yesterday sentenced to 81/2 years in jail and eight strokes of the cane.

    The man, now 46, pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual assault by penetration.

    One count of using criminal force to outrage the modesty of a young person was taken into account in sentencing.

    He cannot be named to protect the girl's identity.

    A district court heard that the girl was very close to the man and his wife, who is the girl's maternal aunt.

    She would often stay over at their flat during her school holidays and over long weekends.

    On Aug 15, 2013, the uncle picked the girl up from her Toa Payoh home at night.

    He left her alone to watch television in his flat at about 10pm and went to work. However, at around midnight, he came home reeking of alcohol.

    At about 1am on Aug 16, he asked the girl to sleep and she went to lie down on the bed in the master bedroom, where she slept whenever she stayed over. He went to lie down beside her, clad in his boxers.

    He began to cuddle her, thinking she was asleep. She did not sense anything amiss and kept her eyes closed.

    The uncle then committed a sexual act.

    He stopped when the girl cried in pain, the court heard.

    "Confused and frightened, the victim continued lying on the bed with her eyes closed. She only fell asleep after hearing the accused snoring," Deputy Public Prosecutor Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz told the court.

    Over the next few days, the girl remained troubled over the incident but feared the consequences of telling her parents about it.

    On Aug 23, 2013, she finally told her mother who contacted her sister.

    They agreed that the girl would no longer see her uncle.

    The following month, the girl's father found out and insisted that a police report be made. He had read a series of text messages from the girl's phone, in which she expressed distress at not being able to see her aunt anymore.

    A child psychiatrist, who assessed the girl on Oct 21, 2013, found that she treated her uncle and aunt like her "real parents". The girl reported feeling sad, betrayed and disappointed with her uncle.

    She also felt angry about it and worried about her aunt, who blamed her for what happened.

    It was also noted that she had recurrent thoughts about the assault and this affected her mood, sleep, appetite and desire to attend school.

    The maximum punishment for sexual assault by penetration is 20 years' jail with a fine and caning.