Youth no licence for rape, judge warns

A HIGH Court judge warned yesterday that youth was no licence to commit rape.

Imposing a five-year jail term on Lee Wing-on, 16, for raping a 13-year-old schoolgirl, Mr Justice Leong said he appreciated that young criminals should be given a chance to reform, but it was also necessary for the court to impose a sentence which would deter people, however young they were, from committing crimes such as this.

The judge sentenced Choi Chi-ho, 19, to six years' jail for aiding and abetting rape. Choi had threatened the girl with a chopper and forced her to have sex with Lee.

Lee and Choi had both denied the offence, but were found guilty by a jury after trial.

Senior assistant Crown prosecutor Mr Harry Macleod had called evidence that the girl and a group of friends visited a holiday villa on Cheung Chau in the early hours of March 22 last year.

When she refused to have sex with Lee, Choi produced a chopper and threatened to kill her unless she consented. She did not dare to resist.

Counsel for Choi, Mr Rupert Spicer, in mitigation submitted that the girl had suffered no physical injury.

He said that Choi had only aided and abetted the offence.

Mr Peter Wan, for Lee, said it was not clear from the evidence whether Lee was present when Choi threatened the girl.

Lee was a youth who had turned wild and there was still time to make him a useful person.