A 49-year-old rape suspect, who defecated in court, smeared his faeces on his shirt and spoke incoherently last week, pulled a new move on Monday (Jan 20) in a bid to push back his trial.
This time, part-time deliveryman Isham Kayubi told the court in Singapore that he had just regained his memory, has “a lot to tell” with respect to his case and would require some time to get a lawyer to represent him.
He is standing trial in the High Court for his alleged rape of two 14-year-old girls in 2017.
However, a prison doctor and prison psychiatrist testified that there were no signs or records of Isham having suffered memory loss. His prison warden testified that he was able to interact normally with his cell mates and prison officers, and displayed no abnormality in his behaviour.
Justice See Kee Oon therefore moved ahead with Isham’s trial, in which he faces four rape charges and two sexual assault charges.
All the witnesses whom the prosecution is relying upon to prove their case against Isham have testified.
The prosecution and Isham will now have to file their final submissions on Wednesday ahead of a hearing on Thursday, at which Justice See might deliver a verdict. The court adopted this timetable after Isham, whose lawyers assigned to him under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme had discharged themselves in January last year, refused to answer if he would give evidence even though he was prompted to do so many times.
Justice See had told Isham that if he chooses to remain silent, he may “draw appropriate inferences, including inferences that may be adverse to him” in deciding if he is guilty of the charges he is facing.
Isham merely kept repeating that he would like to get a lawyer to defend him. Justice See heard some evidence about Isham’s conduct of smearing faeces on himself and on a glass panel in the courtroom on the first day of his trial on Jan 16. Laxatives were prescribed for the accused person since Nov 20, 2019 because he claimed to be suffering from chronic constipation disorder, the court heard. This was after he urinated in court and flashed his genitals at the judge during a hearing last September.
“It is not that I refuse to co-operate,” he said, through a Malay interpreter. “I need a lawyer to defend myself for this to be a fair case. For murder and drug trafficking cases, they can have (a lawyer). Why not mine, Your Honour?… I will try to get a lawyer on my own.”
Justice See made clear to him that he would not allow an adjournment because the accused had had the chance to engage a lawyer after his lawyers from the legal aid scheme, who were supposed to provide him with pro-bono legal help, discharged themselves, but he had chosen not to do so.
The judge later warned Isham that if he chooses to repeat the same justification, he would take it that Isham “refuses to give evidence”.
“I said earlier that I am not allowing an adjournment. I am not going to refer this case to the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme. They are not prepared to assign counsel to him, and if he doesn’t have counsel ready and able to act for him right now, he has to continue to represent himself as he had done,” the judge said.
Still, Isham continued pleading: “Please give me one more week. This is not an ordinary case, Your Honour.”
“You are well aware of this from the start,” Justice See responded.