8th December 2023 – (Hong Kong) In a recent verdict by District Court Judge Kwok Wai-kin, a 22-year-old male, identified as Y.L.P, was handed an 18-month probation order for admitting to two counts of serious indecent assault against a child under the age of 16. During the trial, it was revealed that the victim, referred to as X, had suffered from depression and engaged in self-harm since the age of 13. It was during therapy sessions that the distressing truth emerged – X had been subjected to sexual abuse by her brother, who is seven years her senior, since she was just three years old. The acts of abuse included forced oral sex and bathing together.
According to the trauma report cited by Judge Kwok, X exhibited mild depression and adjustment disorders, along with self-harming behaviours. Currently, her overall emotions are stable, although she experiences heightened emotional fluctuations when faced with academic pressure. The report further noted that X’s depression intensified after she exposed the abuse, leading to feelings of guilt towards her family and self-blame for not forgetting the incidents, which ultimately resulted in a fractured family dynamic.
The mental health report on the defendant revealed that he struggled academically and had a strained relationship with his family. His father was a workaholic, while his mother placed excessive focus on his academic performance, often comparing him to others. The defendant felt neglected and frustrated after his sister’s birth, which led to instances of head-banging as a coping mechanism. At a young age, he overheard his parents engaging in sexual activities, arousing his curiosity about sex, and subsequently exposed himself to pornography and engaged in masturbation.
During his high school years, discussions amongst peers about sex and prostitution influenced the defendant’s behaviour. At the age of 16, he visited a sex worker for the first time, later engaging in such activities regularly. He also revealed that he had been subject to ridicule by female classmates for his appearance and body odour, which left him feeling hopeless about establishing intimate relationships with women.
The defendant attributed his criminal acts to his sister becoming the centre of attention after her birth, viewing his actions as a means of retaliating against his parents’ perceived unfair treatment. He believed that such behaviour would result in a closer bond with X, although he acknowledged that it would have a detrimental impact on her psychological well-being. The report concluded that the defendant’s likelihood of reoffending fell within the medium to high range.
Judge Kwok also referred to the probation officer’s report, which highlighted limited parental care and supervision. The defendant had been exposed to child pornography since primary school, leading to a distorted attitude towards sex. X, the victim, expressed forgiveness towards her brother and expressed hope for a brighter future for him. Considering the defendant’s attitude, his determination to change, and the support of his family, a community service order was recommended.
In delivering the sentence, Judge Kwok noted that the offences were committed when X was only three and ten years old. The defendant admitted to engaging in similar acts over a span of seven years, indicating a pattern of behaviour rather than an isolated incident. Judge Kwok acknowledged the defendant’s immaturity and lack of understanding at the time of the initial offence, as well as the insufficient guidance and supervision from his parents. Furthermore, X expressed a desire for a reunited family and described the defendant as a good brother. While the extent of harm inflicted on X is difficult to quantify, it is not irreparable.
Judge Kwok emphasised that the case did not involve coercion or actual sexual intercourse, nor did it expose X to the risk of pregnancy. Nonetheless, he held the defendant accountable for his grave misconduct, while also highlighting the parental responsibility in the matter. Recognising the defendant’s period of solitary confinement and the hardships he endured following his arrest, Judge Kwok believed that he had learned a valuable lesson and had the potential for rehabilitation. Consequently, an 18-month probation order was issued.