The Taiwan High Court has sentenced a man to four years in prison for raping a girl, overturning a previous ruling for a deferred sentence.
The ruling can be appealed.
The man, surnamed Pan (潘), was sharing an apartment with the girl, who was referred to by the alias Hsiao Meng (小夢), and her mother when the crime took place, the court said.
Pan raped Hsiao Meng in June 2016 when they were left alone in the apartment while the mother underwent surgery, prosecutors said.
The case went unreported until 2017, when Hsiao Meng told her father — who is a former boyfriend of her mother — who immediately reported it to the New Taipei City Police Department.
The two sides reached a settlement during court proceedings, with Hsiao Meng saying that Pan stopped when she asked him to and that her memory of the incident was muddled.
However, despite the family’s withdrawal of their complaint, prosecutors indicted Pan as required by the law in sexual assault cases.
The New Taipei City District Court sentenced Pan to two years in prison, commutable to a fine and deferred for five years, on the basis that he had no prior convictions and appeared to regret his actions.
Pan appealed, saying that he was innocent and should not receive any punishment, as he had reached a settlement with Hsiao Meng’s family.
The High Court said that Pan’s refusal to accept criminal responsibility was a “radical change of attitude,” compounded by the fact that during court proceedings he blamed Hsiao Meng for his actions, saying that she had seduced him.
It also said the lower court’s invocation of Article 59 of the Criminal Code in its ruling was a “misapplication of the law.”
Article 59 states: “A punishment may be reduced at discretion if the circumstances of the commission of the offense are so pitiable that even the minimum punishment is considered too severe.”
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