The defendant pleaded not guilty to (i) two charges of attempted rape and (ii) two charges of rape, punishable under section 376 of the Penal Code. The prosecution withdrew the fourth charge during the trial. The court noted that since the complainant was under the age of 14 at the time of each alleged incident, her consent was not relevant. As the court found no corroboration of the complainant’s evidence, it had to rely upon her credibility. The court found that the complainant was exaggerating when she claimed that the defendant attempted to rape her. The court did not agree that he did more than commit an act of indecency under Section 354 P.C., which contains the offence of assault or criminal force used on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty. The court acquitted the defendant of attempted rape and rape, but convicted him of the offence of indecency for all three charges. He was sentenced to three years and four strokes for each of the three charges, which are cumulative and consecutive sentences. The defendant was ordered to serve a total of nine years and suffer a total of 12 strokes, with a reduction for time already spent in custody.
Women and Justice: Court: High Court of Brunei
The defendant pleaded not guilty to two charges of raping a 14 year old female, under sections 376(1) and (2) of the Penal Code, and having carnal knowledge of a female under the age of 16 years, under Section 2 of the Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Act, Cap. 29. The fact of sexual intercourse was not disputed. However, because the complainant was under 14 years old when the offences occurred, her consent was not relevant to the charge of rape. Nonetheless, because of her consent, the defendant was acquitted of the charge of aggravated rape. The court convicted the defendant of rape, and imposed a sentence of four years imprisonment and six strokes. The court also convicted the defendant of having carnal knowledge of a female under the age of 16 years, and imposed a sentence of three years imprisonment and six strokes. The sentences of imprisonment were concurrent, with the defendant to serve four years total. The sentences of whipping were consecutive, with the defendant to receive 12 strokes total.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to one charge of attempted rape of an 11 years and 10 months old female, under section 376(1) of the Penal Code. The court found that the complainant gave different versions as to the events that occurred. It found the complainant’s evidence unreliable. The court concluded that the complainant was the initiator of the events that led to the attempted intercourse. The court found that there was an attempt at sexual intercourse. In view of medical evidence that revealed that the hymen was intact and that ejaculation may have occurred outside the complainant, the court found doubt as to whether penetration occurred. The court highlighted that consent was not a defense to rape as the complainant was under the age of 14 at the time at issue. Nonetheless, consent becomes relevant to punishment, as a minimum sentence is prescribed for rape which occurs “without the consent of the victim”. The court found that the complainant gave her consent to the defendant’s attempt to have sexual intercourse with her and that she gave a real consent, not vitiated by immaturity or by any of the other factors specified in section 90 P.C. The court convicted the defendant of attempted rape and imposed sentences of one year imprisonment and three strokes.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to five charges of rape of an approximately 13 year old female, under section 376 of the Penal Code. The court emphasized that these were rapes only because of the complainant’s age, not because any force was used against her. The court noted that the fact that a rape is committed with consent does not lower the standard of proof which is required of the act itself. The court reasoned that it would be dangerous to convict in reliance on the complainant’s evidence, which had several inconsistencies. Additionally, the testimony of an examining doctor showed that the complainant’s evidence was suspect. The complainant denied having had sexual intercourse with anyone in the date range at issue, which did not agree with the evidence of the examining doctor, which the court accepted. The court found that if she cannot be believed as to that, it could not rely on her uncorroborated evidence on any of the charges. The defendant was acquitted of all five charges and the court ordered his discharge.
The Court reviewed a guilty verdict against defendants under the Women and Girls Protection Act and Passport Act for forcibly bringing two women into Brunei for the purposes of prostitution. The Court found that the Magistrate judge was did not err in relying on testimonial evidence if that evidence was found to be reliable.
Although the Court found that intercourse was consensual and lacked the requisite forcible element, it stated that evidence from the alleged victim is enough to corroborate a rape allegation.