Nov 8, 2008

The Legal Complications of Oral Sex

ST journalist Elena Chong has been covering the crime beat for many years. When I was still a DPP (and that was quite some time ago), she was already an old hand at it. We often had little chats outside the courtroom on the latest 'hot' cases.

For such an experienced journalist, she wrote a rather bad article:
ST Nov 7, 2008
Charged for oral sex
By Elena Chong

A MAN was charged in court on Friday with three charges of having oral sex with his Indonesian maid.

Ahmad Dapon, 53, allegedly engaged in oral sex with the 31-year-old woman in his flat on three occasions between April and May last year.

He is represented by Mr Subhas Anandan.

If convicted, he faces a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine.

The case has been fixed for a pre-trial conference on Nov 25.

Oral or unnatural sex is an offence in Singapore, punishable with a life sentence, or up to ten years jail and/or a fine.
The words in bold are not accurate. They used to be accurate. However, the Penal Code was extensively amended in 2007, and many of Singapore's criminal laws were changed.

Oral sex is no longer an offence in Singapore, unless it is non-consensual or it is between two male persons. Also the penalty is no longer the life sentence, or up to 10 years jail, and/or fine.

So the true picture of Ahmad Dapon's case is more likely to be one of the following scenarios:

(1) Ahmad is charged for non-consensual oral sex with his maid, and under the new section 376. Thus what he faces is actually up to 20 years imprisonment, and fine (no caning, because he's over the age limit);

(2) Ahmad was charged for oral sex under the Penal Code before it was revised (that is, he was charged under the old law) and for some reason the charge against Ahmad has not been amended.

Scenario 2 leaves the DPP, the judge and the defence lawyer with assorted technical questions to sort out. Like, whether you can charge someone for an offence which was an offence at the time he allegedly did it, but has ceased to be an offence by the time the case goes to court; or whether you should amend the charge to the new offence (meaning that you may have to prove certain additional elements - eg the maid's non-consent).

Anyway, here's the point. The ST shouldn't have published this sentence "Oral or unnatural sex is an offence in Singapore, punishable with a life sentence, or up to ten years jail and/or a fine". Because it simply isn't correct. It stopped being correct sometime late last year.

It's OKAY, folks. All you consenting husbands and wives out there, carry on having fun. Consenting girlfriends and boyfriends too.

Errr, I mean consenting girlfriend with consenting boyfriend; or consenting girlfriend with consenting girlfriend; but not boyfriend with boyfriend, whether consenting or not. That's just how the law goes.


hojiber said...

Wang, how you know is not some big shot expensive foreign hired editor who messes up Elena's report? Hehehe

SR said...

It's ridiculous to charge a man JUST for oral sex.

It must have been non-consensual.

The title of the ST article was woefully misleading, if that was the case. And crafted for sensationalism?

Daniel Ling said...

Interesting, didn't realise tat it's ok for gal gal but not for boy boy =D

Anyway my fren also just mention to me last week tat the 2 Form of unnatural sex has actually change from Il- Legal to Legal, i was surprise...

Then again, i guess the laws isn't really my cup of tea.

moomooman said...

consenting boyfriend?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Not allowed.

moomooman said...

Wang, u misunderstood me.

I wouldn't think any males would not consent if the girl is consenting.

So the word "consenting" was correctly omitted.