Public Prosecutor v Radhakrishna Gnanasegaran

JudgeTay Yong Kwang JC
Judgment Date27 April 1999
Neutral Citation[1999] SGHC 107
Published date06 March 2013
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Plaintiff CounselMark Hwang and Ravneet Kaur (Attorney-General's Chambers)
Defendant CounselAccused in person

1 The Accused, 37 years old, is the natural father of the Complainant who is his only daughter born on 23 July 1981. He also has three sons, all younger than the daughter. They lived in a HDB flat in [xxx]. This is a two-bedroom flat. Before their separation in December 1996, the Accused’s wife also lived with the family. In February 1998, they divorced and the Accused was given custody of all four children.

2 The Accused claimed trial to three Charges under Section 377 Penal Code of having had carnal intercourse against the order of nature with his daughter (i.e. fellatio) and four Charges of rape by having sexual intercourse with his daughter without her consent. It was alleged that in order to facilitate the commission of the rape offences, he put her in fear of hurt to herself, thereby constituting offences of aggravated rape under Section 376(2)(b) Penal Code. All the offences were allegedly committed in the [xxx] flat on various dates.

3 In chronological sequence, the seven offences alleged were as follows:


Charge No.




Section 377 Penal Code

August or Sept 1995


Section 376(2) Penal Code

March 1996


Section 377 Penal Code



Section 377 Penal Code

June 1998


Section 376(2) Penal Code

July 1998


Section 376(2) Penal Code

7 August 1998


Section 376(2) Penal Code

10 August 1998

4 Initially, the Accused faced one other Charge under Section 377 Penal Code wherein he was alleged to have had fellatio with the daughter in 1988 in their former HDB flat in [xxx]. She was then 7 years old. As he indicated that he wished to plead guilty to that Charge, it was stood down. However, during the course of the trial, he claimed that he was so drunk that on that occasion he did not realize what he was doing.

5 The Accused conducted his own defence through a Tamil interpreter.


6 Dr Chua Hong Liang of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Singapore General Hospital examined the Complainant on 24 August 1998 after the alleged rape had been reported on 19 August 1998. The Complainant was calm and rational and appeared tidy. There were no external injuries on her. There were old tears found at her hymenal orifice. The clinical findings were consistent with a history of vaginal intercourse. She was tested for sexually transmitted diseases and for the presence of spermatozoa. All the tests returned negative results.

7 Dr Leow Kee Fong of Changi Prison Hospital examined the Accused on 27 August 1998. He found no indication of impotence. The results of investigation for sexually transmitted diseases were negative.

8 Dr Pary Sivaraman of the Division of Nephrology of the National University Hospital reported that the Complainant was admitted to NUH on 5 September 1995 after having taken an overdosage of 15 tablets of theophylline. The tablets had been prescribed for her mother’s asthma. The Complainant was then 14 years old. Her purported reason for consuming the tablets was that she had a quarrel with her mother. She underwent dialysis to help remove the theophylline. Her condition improved and she was then seen by a psychiatrist who did not find any overt psychiatric illness. She was discharged well on 12 September 1995 but did not turn up for her follow-up appointments.

9 Dr Parvarthy Pathy, a medical doctor and psychiatrist by training, is with the Child Guidance Clinic at the Institute of Mental Health. She examined the Complainant on 26 August 1998 when the latter was referred to her by the police. The Complainant told the doctor about her parents’ severe marital problems. She did not feel comfortable talking about the alleged sexual abuse by her father and the doctor therefore did not press her for the details. She told the doctor that she complied with her father’s demands as she was fearful of him. He had also been physically abusive towards her.

10 The Complainant also claimed that her mother was aware of the sexual abuse but, instead of protecting her, blamed her for it. She therefore took an overdose of the anti-asthmatic medication.

11 She gave the history of her difficulties with little emotion but said that she suffered from insomnia and had bad memories, flashbacks and nightmares about the abuse. She expressed worry concerning her brothers and said that her studies for the GCE ‘O’ Level examinations at the end of the year had been affected by her domestic difficulties. Based on what the Complainant had told her and having read the Summary of Facts given to her, the doctor concluded that the Complainant had symptoms of post-traumatic disorder characterised by the recurrent nightmares, memories and flashbacks of her father’s alleged abuse. The Complainant did not turn up for her subsequent appointments at the clinic.

12 Cross-examined by the Accused, the doctor said the medical report was made by her after she had seen the Complainant once. She has since interviewed the Complainant two more times and the latter stood by what she had told the doctor on the first occasion.

13 B is the wife of C. She is a housewife. She and her husband used to be neighbours of the Accused’s family until sometime in 1996, when they moved out of C’s mother’s flat and re-located to a flat in another part of [xxx] housing estate.

14 On 18 August 1998 between 10 pm and 11 pm, her husband telephoned her at home and told her to get ready as he wanted to bring the Complainant to a police station. She asked him for the reason but he only told her to get ready again. A little later, he called again and said that the Complainant was crying but did not elaborate.

15 At about 11.30 pm, he returned home with the Complainant who was crying and asked B to ask her what had happened. The Complainant was reluctant to talk in C’s presence. He therefore stepped outside the flat. The Complainant then told B that her father had been forcing her to have sex with him for the past two years, threatening to beat her up if she refused. She said the last time they had sex was sometime during that month (August 1998). She also said that her father had asked her to put his penis into her mouth and had been doing this to her from the time she was 7 years old. Her mother was aware of this but did not do anything about it. The Complainant further narrated that she told her father to marry another woman after he had divorced her mother but he replied that since he already had her, he could wait until she was married.

16 The Complainant said she could not take the abuse anymore and ran away from home on 15 August 1998. When B asked her why she did not inform them about all this earlier, she said that she was afraid her father would beat her up. She also said that he had threatened to kill her brothers if she reported it to the police. B then repeated the Complainant’s narration to C. They then brought her to Clementi Police Station when she lodged a report.

17 Cross-examined by the Accused, B agreed that when she was the Accused’s next-door neighbour, she would visit the Accused’s flat at least once a day. She did not suspect then that there was something going on between the Accused and his daughter. The first time she knew about the sexual abuse was when the Complainant told her about it on 18 August 1998.

18 She disagreed that the Complainant was closer to her than to her husband. She did not know of any relationship between her husband and the Complainant and disagreed that the Complainant paged her husband in the morning between 6 and 6.30 am practically everyday to wake him up.

19 B agreed that the Complainant had told her on her visits to the Accused’s flat that the Accused used to beat up his children and that it was because they had misbehaved or had returned home late. She did not know whether the Complainant frequented night clubs while the Accused was working in the night shift. As far as she was aware, the Complainant did not go to any night club with her husband.

20 B had never witnessed the Accused beating up his children but she noticed a bruise on top of the Complainant’s left eye once and was told by her that it had been caused by her father’s beating.

21 After B and C moved away, the Complainant would telephone them once every few days to chit-chat with whomever answered the calls.

22 B’s husband, is C to the Accused’s children. He is a sub-contractor. On 18 August 1998 at about 9 pm, while he was in the Telok Blangah area, the Complainant paged him. When he called back, she was crying. Sensing that something was wrong, he asked her where she was. She replied that she would be at the Clementi MRT Station. C told her to wait for him there.

23 When he arrived at the said MRT Station, the Complainant was crying. He first thought that the Accused had beaten her up and asked her whether that was so. She shook her head. After regaining her composure, she told him that the Accused treated her like she was his wife instead of his daughter. He then thought that she might have been sexually abused by the Accused and decided to bring her back to his home. He telephoned his wife and told her to get ready to go to the police station with him and the Complainant.

24 Back at his flat, he told his wife to talk to the Complainant and find out the details. Later, she informed him about the sexual abuse over a long period of time. They then advised the Complainant to lodge a police report. She refused and appeared frightened, saying that the Accused would kill her and her brothers. She was also concerned that she would not be able to go home after making a report. They assured her of their support and managed to persuade her to make the report, after which the Complainant stayed in their flat for the next two days.

25 C disagreed with the Accused’s suggestion that they became close to each other only after the Accused’s wife had left the [xxx] flat. He said that he was merely a neighbour to the Accused’s daughter and...

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