Hong Kong judge scolds lawyers after assault victim is left to stress over testifying against attacker
Father of six jailed for 26 months for assaulting daughter on two occasions
A judge on Monday chided lawyers for not doing enough to ease pressure on a young sexual assault victim who was left wondering if she had to testify against her attacker in court.
It came as judge Johnny Chan Jong-herng sentenced a father of six to 26 months jail for twice assaulting his daughter since 2008, when she was just 10 years old.
The victim report revealed the girl became increasingly disturbed as the case progressed. Without knowing whether her father planned to plead guilty or not, the victim did not know if she would have to testify.
“She was under stress for two to three weeks,” the judge said. “I hope both parties could do a bit more for the victim.”
Defence lawyers explained that they had indicated their intention to plead guilty during a pretrial review on January 3. But this detail was kept from the victim because prosecutor Alex Ng said lawyers were worried the defendant might change his mind at the last minute.
“Look at the pain and pressure she’s experienced,” the judge replied. “And see if you could have taken one more step.”
The District Court heard that one day between 2008 and 2009, when the girl came home early for being unwell, the defendant took advantage her, removed her clothes and licked her body.
Then in 2013, the girl woke up one day to find her father lifting up her skirt. She shouted at her father, who then immediately left the room.
The assault only came to light in March 2015 when the girl exposed her father’s conduct online and contacted a social worker after showing suicidal tendencies. Her father, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was arrested in November that year.
The 61-year-old father pleaded guilty on February 13 to two counts of indecent assault. In sentencing, the judge said the father clearly committed the crime out of selfish reasons to use his daughter to satisfy his own sexual desires.
“He severely breached the God-given duty of a father to take care and protect his daughter,” Chan continued.
“He breached a father’s credibility and responsibility.”