SINGAPORE — Despite a 17-year age gap and knowing she was underage, a restaurant manager had sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old part-time employee on two occasions — once in a restaurant where they both worked.
Malaysian Raja Muhammad Zulfadhli Noor Raja M, now 35, was sentenced to 16 months’ jail on Wednesday (Sept 6) after pleading guilty to two counts of having sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 16.
Another similar charge was taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that Raja met the girl, who was then 14, in April 2018 at a restaurant where he worked as a manager and she worked part-time.
The two grew close and would often send text messages to each other.
During the fasting month of Ramadan in 2018, Raja and the victim decided to break fast together. While they were together, Raja put his arms around her shoulder and held her hands. He also kissed her on the forehead.
They started a relationship shortly after.
Sometime in June 2018, both Raja and the girl decided to report early for work.
When she arrived, she joined Raja who was seated in a booth at the back of the restaurant.
They started chatting. Raja then proceeded to lean towards the girl to kiss her. He then removed both of their bottom clothing and underwear before having sexual intercourse with her without using any protection.
Despite knowing that she was only 14, Raja engaged in sexual intercourse with her once more in her bedroom a few months later, said Deputy Public Prosecutor June Ngian.
Throughout the course of their relationship, Raja would typically hide in the teenager’s bedroom while her parents were at home and would only come out from under her bed when they left the house.
One morning in November 2018, while the girl was on her bed, Raja joined her and then had sexual intercourse with her without protection.
They broke up in June 2020 and a month later, the teenager went to see a psychiatrist to deal with the distress she felt from the relationship she had with Raja.
She was later diagnosed sometime in September 2021 with major depressive disorder and even though she was seeking treatment, she continued to have nightmares and problems sleeping.
The teenager subsequently decided to seek closure and lodged a police report against Raja on Feb 25 last year.
Seeking a sentence of between 16 and 17 months’ jail, DPP Ngian said that there was an abuse of trust as Raja was the girl’s manager at the restaurant and had entered into a romantic and later sexual relationship with her.
She also pointed out that Raja did not use protection during sexual intercourse, which exposed the teenager to a greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and unwanted pregnancy.
Urging the court to consider 15 months’ jail for her client, defence counsel Cheryl Sim said that Raja’s plea of guilt at the earliest opportunity was evidence of his “deep remorse and contrition” for what he has done.
Ms Sim added that he now understands the gravity of his actions and as the adult in the situation, he should have exercised more prudence and not given in to temptation.
District Judge Prem Raj agreed with the prosecution that 16 months’ jail would be the appropriate sentence for Raja, bearing in mind that he had exposed a 14-year-old girl to the risks of STD and pregnancy.
For having sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years of age, Raja could have been jailed up to 10 years or fined, or both.