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The Straits Times
April 6, 2023
A 22-year-old who raped a drunken teenager after taking her home was sentenced to nine years and 11 months’ jail and six strokes of the cane by the High Court on Thursday.
Delwin Neo Kah Keng had sent text messages to various friends, including one asking if he was “too innocent to not even touch her”, when the girl fell asleep after rejecting his advances.
Despite being told by one friend that he would be a rapist if he had sex with the girl, Neo, who was then 19, forced himself on the 18-year-old.
Neo pleaded guilty in January to one charge of rape committed in the early hours of Nov 21, 2019, as well as two charges for unrelated sexual offences committed against another victim.
Nine other charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.
In sentencing, Justice Audrey Lim agreed with prosecutors that the victim was vulnerable, given that she was intoxicated and that Neo was opportunistic in taking advantage of her inebriated state.
The judge noted that he knew the girl was drunk and insisted on taking her home despite meeting her for the first time that night.
He decided to remain at the teenager’s flat when he realised that she lived alone, said Justice Lim, even though the victim, who believed that he would leave after taking her home, had told him to lock the gate and throw the keys inside.
But the judge took into account that Neo was 19 at the time.
Justice Lim said deterrence is the primary consideration, but she was cognisant of his relatively young age and that rehabilitation also features as a sentencing consideration.
On the night of Nov 20, 2019, Neo, then a full-time national serviceman, met the victim at a birthday party he had organised for a friend at a club in Clarke Quay.
The victim became intoxicated and at about 2am on Nov 21, he sent a video of her lying drunk on a sofa to a WhatsApp group chat he had created for those attending the celebration.
At about 2.20am, he told the group chat that he was taking the victim home.
One of his friends told him not to do so, but Neo disregarded this. A promoter at the club offered to send the girl home, but Neo insisted that he would do so and booked a taxi.
After entering her unit, she told him to lock the gate and throw the keys through the gate. Thinking that he had left, she took off most of her clothes and got into bed.
At some point, he asked her for various sexual acts, but she said no and fell back to sleep.
Neo then texted two female friends to say that he was in the victim’s home. In spite of his friends’ advice not to touch her, he raped the victim.
The victim woke up and pleaded with him to stop, but he continued. She later chased him out of her flat.
On her friend’s urging, the victim reported the rape to the police in the early morning of Nov 22.
In mitigation, his lawyer Suresh Damodara urged the court to take into account Neo’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and adjustment disorder.
He argued that Neo spared the victim from having to go through a trial by pleading guilty, and that his “youthful folly” was a relevant consideration.
But Deputy Public Prosecutor Hidayat Amir said there was no causal or contributory link between Neo’s psychiatric condition and the offences.
He said the ordeal left the victim with nightmares and flashbacks for around two years, and led her to commit acts of self-harm and harbour suicidal thoughts on many occasions.