SINGAPORE: A gardener at the Singapore Botanic Gardens was jailed two weeks on Friday (May 19) for showing a 13-year-old boy an obscene photo at the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden in December last year.
Chua Ah Guan, 59, had called out to the boy, who was walking in the Gardens alone, saying: “Boy, I have something to show you.” When the teen approached him, Chua showed the teen a photo of a penis on his mobile phone.
The boy shouted for help. A passer-by heard the teen yelling “pervert!” and rushed to his aid.
The obscene photo was one of 157 found on Chua’s mobile phone.
Prosecutors had called for a four-month jail term, while Chua’s lawyer said a fine would be more appropriate.
District Judge Kessler Soh agreed with the prosecution, saying a custodial sentence is “necessary” in cases where the victim is a child. “Young children must be protected” from the “corrupting influence” of obscene photos, Judge Soh said.
“Given the young age of the boy and the need for deterrence, a fine would be an inadequate punishment,” he added.
In Chua’s favour, he had flashed the photo for a “brief, fleeting” moment and had apologised profusely once the boy “reacted”, Judge Soh said. He compared Chua’s case to “the notorious case of Joshua Robinson”. Robinson was jailed six months for showing a six-year-old girl an obscene video, and four years in total in March this year.
The photo Chua showed the boy was of “a part of the human anatomy”, and not a sexual act, as in Robinson’s case, Judge Soh added. Without “downplaying” Chua’s case, his culpability is far lower than Robinson, the judge added, sentencing Chua to two weeks’ jail.
For showing an obscene photo to a child under 21, Chua could have been jailed up to a year and/or fined.