The usual sentence for a man who has committed rape is more than 10 years of jail term with caning. However, what if the culprit is someone with an I.Q. of 61? On the Human Rights Watch table, anyone with an I.Q. below 70 is diagnosed as having mental retardation. So, would you give an intellectually disabled person the same sentence as a normal person?
This was the trouble that Justice Woo Bih Li faced when sentencing a teenager, with I.Q. of 61, who has committed rape. While out on bail for other offences in 2014, the 14-year-old raped and sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl. He had followed the stranger to a life lobby only 3 doors away from her flat.
The prosecution had sought a jail term of 15-18 years and at least 15 strokes of the cane. The teen’s lawyers argued for 18 months – 3 years of reformative training instead, a structured regime for offenders below 21.
“I would have had less hesitation in sending him to reformative training if he did not have any intellectual disability”
In the end, the teen was sentenced to reformative training despite committing rape when he was 14. Justice Woo believes that the accused himself was a vulnerable person as he was still young and intellectually disabled.
“It seems to this court that reformative training still offers the better prospect of rehabilitation when compared to imprisonment”