He got 34 years and a maximum of 24 strokes. But I can't say that criminal justice was not done in his case. It most definitely was, and redemption for him took a backseat that day when he was sentenced.
In all my writings, I am always biased towards redeeming a man.
I believe every man deserves a chance, if not multiple chances. And if it takes a village to raise a kid, then it takes a lifetime for some to find redemption.
But this morning, this bias was sorely challenged by a man's most incomprehensible crime. And the prosecution calls it "one of the most heinous cases which we have ever seen."
If I had judged him, and therefore stood to be judged myself, then so be it.
You have to see the abuse from the eye of the child.
She was only seven when she had to put with his regular sexual abuses. He was her mother's lover. She called him "shu shu".
She told her mother about the molest, but she reprimanded her and refused to intervene.
She therefore realised it was futile because the only one who could protect her, not only did nothing, but disbelieved her.
After he got married to another woman (who bore him a son), he even invited the girl and her mother to live with his new family.
From that point, the girl's mother became his mistress.
All this time, he was jobless and relied on the two women in his life to support him. His wife had to work and his mistress gave him $350 a month for household expenses.
After they moved in, his molest turned into rape. He also forced her to perform oral sex on him. It reports that he did it in broad daylight while others were at home.
Alas, the girl became "so conditioned to his abuse that she automatically took off her clothes when he summoned her. She was then only below ten years old."
And because he frequently assaulted his wife and her mother when he was drunk and even hit the girl when she tried to protect her mother, the girl feared angering him. He even went berserk when she befriended her male classmates.
But that was not even the half of it.
The girl only learned that what her shu shu did was wrong when she was Primary 5 and attended sex education classes.
At 13, she mustered the courage to seek help, but not from her own mother.
She instead went to the man's wife and she referred her to a social worker.
A police report was lodged in June 2016. By that time, the man's wife had already divorced him and moved out with her son.
That's not the end of it.
When the man, 47, heard that he was a wanted man, the girl's mother gave him $800, and he spent four days evading arrest before surrendering himself to the police.
When he was arrested, and charged for statutory rape, his first response was to accuse the girl. He said she seduced and flirted with him.
DPP Khoo said that the man had "wrecked the girl's life and caused a rift between her and her mother."
Now, it reports that the girl, 15, is living with with her maternal grandmother.
Expectedly, she confessed that she felt very insecure about herself and "worries about being judged by others."
She said to the prosecution that "she misses her mother."
While it is not possible to contact the girl, as her privacy should always be guarded and protected, I would like to tell her that there is absolutely nothing wrong with her.
I want to tell her that no one judges her. No one with a conscience should ever judge her.
I wish so much for her to face the world with restored confidence to know that there are people out there who love her truly, treasure her deeply and wish only to see her recover, to become stronger.
The society still cares - nevertheless.
Amidst the cruelty and pain, there are people around who stand for justice, sacrifice for others and protect with love.
I also want to tell her that she is a brave soul; much braver than I am. She is a hero in my eyes.
I would love to tell her that she is always pure and innocent and her struggles and overcoming are inspiring.
Her courage, her innocence, her love for her mother (after what she had gone through), her strength to move on are simply empowering.
As a father myself, I want her to know that her life is precious, full of potential and her future awaits to fill it with her dreams, hope and joy.
Every father wishes his daughter would eventually marry to the love of her life, to a protective, reliable and trustworthy husband. And I wish the same for her - no less.
More importantly, I wish she will grow up to find trust and hope again and start her family with children of her own to enjoy, guide and protect.
Most of all, I pray she would eventually find peace and closure in this tumultuous world she is living in.
In every corner and bend, life will still be challenging, sometimes trying, and at times, soul-wrenching.
But, I pray that she will be surrounded by love, hope and faith and will move forward to grow in resilience - never giving up and never giving in.
And I also pray that her past would never hold her back from living in the present with courage and strength, and from living her future with hope and love. Cheerz.