The Straits Times
Oct 2, 2023
After an argument with her ex-boyfriend, a woman called the police and claimed he had raped her thrice during their relationship.
She recanted her statement more than a month later and admitted she had lied in order to get him into trouble.
On Monday, Chinese national Zhang Lutian, 22, was sentenced to five weeks’ jail after pleading guilty to one count of giving false information to a public servant.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kevin Liew said the couple met in April 2021 via messaging platform WeChat. They started a relationship in August that year and started living together at the man’s residence.
On March 9, 2022, the two of them had an argument which stretched till midnight the next day. At 12.38am on March 10, Zhang called the police, saying her ex-boyfriend had hurt her, and she was bleeding.
Zhang told two police officers who came to the residence that she had been sexually assaulted by her ex-boyfriend. Given the serious allegation, the police dispatched 17 more officers to the scene, including five investigation officers and four forensic officers.
At 6.30am the same day, Zhang recorded a statement at Police Cantonment Complex claiming her ex-boyfriend had physically abused her and raped her thrice during their relationship.
She also repeated the false allegations to the medical officer during her medical examination.
Her ex-boyfriend had to undergo a police interview, had his mobile phones seized and passport impounded by the police, and was required to apply for a special pass to continue staying in Singapore. His nationality and age were not stated in court documents.
Over a month later, on April 20, 2022, Zhang admitted to the police she had lied and recanted her false statement.
DPP Liew said significant public resources were wasted to investigate the false allegations. Besides the officers at the scene, other forensic officers, cleaning crew and medical staff were activated for follow-up investigations.
Noting the gravity of the offence, DPP Liew asked for Zhang to be jailed for between six and 10 weeks.
Quoting the High Court’s comments in another similar case, DPP Liew said: “Any false allegation of rape must not be taken lightly. Not only is it a serious allegation, it is often difficult to verify because, in most of such cases, it is the word of one person against the other.
“Given the social stigma usually attached to such offences, it could irretrievably damage the reputation of the alleged rapist even if the allegations were subsequently proven to be false.”
Zhang had a mitigation plea prepared, but had to let an interpreter read it on her behalf after she broke down crying in the dock.
In her plea, she asked for a fine instead of a jail term, saying she had just turned 21 a month before the offences and her “cognitive ability for legal terms and awareness of the seriousness of the crime (was) still very immature”.
Zhang said she suffers from severe depression and anxiety, and claimed her ex-boyfriend had treated her rudely during disputes.
Describing the moment when she made the false allegations, Zhang said: “My mind was not conscious at the point in time. I was too desperate at the time and I wanted protection from the police.”
She said her ex-boyfriend has since forgiven her.
Apologising for taking up the police force’s time and resources, Zhang said: “I did not expect things to go this way, and this is my first time being involved (with) the law. I have realised my mistake, and I am remorseful for my actions.”
Zhang will start serving her sentence next week.