Singapore—A 21-year-old man who was about to attend his High Court hearing on Monday (Mar 22) but suddenly disappeared was caught trying to leave Singapore in a boat to Malaysia on Tuesday evening.
He had been set to enter his plea on charges of sexual assault by penetration and attempted rape of a 15-year-old girl in 2017.
Around half an hour before his hearing was to begin, he had breakfast with his lawyers and his father at an eatery near the court, reports Yahoo Singapore.
Explaining his stomach was acting up, he excused himself to go to the bathroom.
However, he never returned to the table.
He was next seen the following evening at around 6 o’clock, when he was caught by the police.
He cannot be named because of a gag order.
The accused had been planning with another 21-year-old man, who was also arrested, to leave Singapore, his lawyer, Mr Clarence Lun, told Yahoo.
The accomplice now faces charges as he had allegedly harboured the accused, the police say, and will be charged on Wednesday (Mar 24).
The man who tried to escape will now face new charges for perverting the course of justice, under section 204A of the Penal Code, according to Yahoo, and will appear in High Court on Wednesday (Mar 24).
On his disappearance on Monday morning, Mr Lun told the court, “At around 9.25 am, there was no sign of the accused and we went to the restroom to look for him and were unable to find the accused in the cubicles. We tried our best to search for the accused on the premises, I believe we went to different levels to search but couldn’t find the accused. As lead counsel, I made my way to court first and left my deputy to search for the accused with his father.”
The accused’s father is also his bailor.
Justice Mavis Chionh also heard that when attempts were made to call the accused, he could not be reached. The father even sent the accused voice messages telling him to come to court.
The father told the judge, “I believe he would not just run away like this. I believe he was caught up in something.”
The accused’s bail has been revoked and a warrant of arrest was issued. His $30,000 bail may be forfeited, pending a show-cause hearing to be scheduled at a later date, according to Yahoo.
The man is said to have attempted the rape of a 15-year-old girl and sexually penetrated her at around 4 am on 17 October 2017 at the foot of Block 557 Pasir Ris Street 51.
A 19-year-old man, his co-accused on the case, received a nine-year jail sentence and nine strokes of the cane last July.
He had entered a guilty plea to the rape of the girl after a game of Truth or Dare that involved alcohol.
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