Law Minister acknowledges 'public disquiet' over Joshua Robinson sentence

Law Minister acknowledges 'public disquiet' over Joshua Robinson sentence

Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam says it is not appropriate for him to comment on the case as the time for appeal has not ended.

SINGAPORE: Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam said on Monday (Mar 6) that he understands there is "public disquiet" over the four-year sentence for an MMA instructor who had sex with two 15-year-old girls. "People are naturally upset. Parents in particular," he said on the sidelines of a fundraising event.

However, Mr Shanmugam said it is not an appropriate time for him to comment on the case against Joshua Robinson because the matter is not concluded and the time for appeal has not ended.

"The decisions on which charges to proceed is a matter within AGC’s (Attorney-General's Chambers) discretion. AGC makes the decisions based on precedents, and what kind of sentence is meted out depends on previous cases."

"Having said that, my understanding is that AGC is looking into this," he added.

Robinson was sentenced to four years' jail on Mar 2 for having sex with two teenage girls and filming the acts for his own "perverse pleasure". Police officers had seized 5,902 obscene films, including 321 films of child pornography when they raided his apartment. The haul is believed to be the largest collection of pornography seized from an individual in Singapore.

In July 2015, a month after he was arrested and released on bail, Robinson showed a six-year-old girl an explicit video of his girlfriend performing a sexual act on him, while the girl's father was busy training a short distance away.

On Sunday, an online petition calling for a harsher sentence for Robinson was posted on change.org.

Parent and early childhood educator Sarah Woon, who started the petition, said she found the four-year sentence "unacceptable and absolutely intolerable". As of Monday evening, the petition has collected more than 9,300 signatures.

Editor’s note: References to sexual assault have been removed from this article following clarification from the AGC that Robinson’s crime did not amount to sexual assault.

Source: CNA/dl