SINGAPORE: A 22-year-old man was sentenced on Tuesday (May 14) to supervised probation and community service after he used his ex-girlfriend's Facebook and Instagram accounts repeatedly over about four years without her knowledge.
The man faced 95 charges for using her accounts, under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, and one charge of stalking by impersonation, under the Protection from Harassment Act. The prosecution proceeded with nine of the charges, with 87 charges on illegal access taken into consideration.
Both parties cannot be named due to a court order.
According to court documents, the man was in a relationship with the victim, also aged 22, for a year until 2013.
After they broke up, he realised that the victim had saved her Facebook and Instagram passwords on his computer and he logged into her accounts on several occasions.
The court heard that the man had wanted to see who his ex-girlfriend was talking to and wanted to "monitor" her. He also impersonated her and talked to others.
On one occasion, he used her account to chat to the boyfriend of a girl he was interested in. The girl had rebuffed his advances as she was in a relationship.
He added her boyfriend on Facebook, and to test his fidelity, suggested having sex. The other man agreed. The accused then stopped speaking to the other man.
The offences came to light in November 2017 when the victim received a message on Instagram and saw several messages in the conversation that she had not written.
She also realised that her Facebook account had been used to add and block other people, and she made a police report.
ACCUSED'S FIRST RELATIONSHIP: DEFENCE
In mitigation, the man's lawyer, Josephus Tan, said the accused had "offended largely because of the acrimonious break-up from his ex-girlfriend". She had abruptly broken up with him over personality differences, he said.
It was the accused’s first relationship, and he was "at a loss" after it suddenly ended, Mr Tan added.
He also said the man's laptop browser had "innocently saved" the victim’s login credentials under the autosave settings. He turned to illegally accessing the victim’s social media accounts to keep himself "abreast of the happenings in her life", Mr Tan said.
"In short, he missed her dearly and he used the above means to remain updated notwithstanding their break-up," Mr Tan said. He added that the man was remorseful, and had strong family support, including three sisters who are willing to supervise him and advise him on the "matters of the heart".
Mr Tan also argued that no actual harm had been done, saying the accused has since secured an internship at a bank.
The man was sentenced to 21 months’ supervised probation on the condition that he remain indoors between 10pm and 6am, and he has to perform 180 hours of community service. For his offences, he could have been fined up to S$5,000, jailed up to two years, or both.