Long jail terms for rape of shy, drunk teen

March 31, 2016 | By More
File image. © Andrew Bardwell

File image. © Andrew Bardwell

Two Punjabi men had a “grossly unreasonable” idea that a shy 17-year-old girl they had got drunk on vodka was consenting to sex, said the judge who imposed long jail sentences today.

The trial in December was told of the girl’s state during the sexual encounter on the roof of the New Brighton Surf Club on a night in December 2013.

“Trying to crawl away, and telling you she was feeling sick – that wasn’t somebody who was willingly participating in sexual activity,” said Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish as she imposed jail terms totalling 16 years 8 months.

Amritpal Singh, 24, was jailed for 8 years 2 months, and Parampreet Singh, 26, for 8 years 6 months.

Neither man had previous offences on their record. Amritpal Singh had his sentence reduced because of his high level of remorse. Parampreet Singh had declined to participate in the preparation of a pre-sentence report, so limited information about him was before the judge.

Defence counsel for Amritpal Singh, Craig Ruane, raised the question of whether the “background and culture” had been a factor in the offending.

He said he had been visited by a male relative of his client, from overseas, and some comments had been surprising. He wondered whether the relative’s comments about “aspects of consent and the behaviour of women” would have been similar to the view of his client.

Counsel for Parampreet Singh, Arlan Arman, of Auckland, urged the judge to consider that it was a case of an unreasonable belief in consent arising from cultural background, genuine mistake, or from “an element of wilful blindness”.

Amritpal Singh was convicted of rape, sexual violation by digital penetration and by oral sex.

Parampreet Singh was convicted to two charges of rape, and sexual violation by oral sex.

The men are friends, but are not related.

Parampreet Singh had contacted the girl through the social media site Tagged about 48 hours before the incident had occurred. She had told them her age. When it was suggested they go to a bar or to the beach, she had replied that she would go to beach because she was not old enough for a bar.

She was picked up and taken to the surf club carpark where the offending occurred, and continued on the roof. The girl had to be helped onto the roof because by then she was grossly intoxicated.

Judge Farish said it was was “grossly unreasonable” for the men to think that the girl was consenting. Although she had willingly drunk the alcohol, encouraged by both of them, she had quickly become drunk and was then an extremely vulnerable victim.

She had been a shy girl, and long-lasting psychological effects were expected from the offending. Judge Farish told the men: “She had some difficulty in making friends. Your offending has diminished her quite significantly. She has lost confidence and for a while she was self-harming.”

The judge noted the exchange of text messages between the men after the offending.

When one asked if they should contact the girl, the other replied: “No, don’t. She will ask for her underwear and bra and then she will remember everything.”

One of them texted: “We have created a scene like India.”

When they were questioned by police a few months later, Parampreet Singh sent the co-offender a text: “Ask for a lawyer. Say it happened with approval and willingness.”

Amritpal Singh replied: “Was it really approved willingly?”

Judge Farish read them first strike warnings as she jailed them.

 

 

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