NUS voyeur given conditional warning as he was 'assessed to have high likelihood of rehabilitation'

NUS voyeur given conditional warning as he was 'assessed to have high likelihood of rehabilitation'

File photo of Eusoff Hall in NUS
File photo of Eusoff Hall in the National University of Singapore. (Photo: Darius Boey) 

SINGAPORE: The 23-year-old male National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduate who committed criminal trespass and insulted the modesty of a female student last year was given a 12-month conditional warning because he had been assessed to have a high likelihood of rehabilitation and was remorseful, said Singapore police in a statement on Tuesday (Apr 23). 

The authorities were responding to "public discussions" that had been building up around the case since the victim, NUS undergrad Monica Baey, first opened up about it on her Instagram account last week. 

Police highlighted that one of the points of discussion was rules ensuring that premises like NUS provide a safe environment and noted that NUS was reviewing its rules on how such conduct should be treated. 

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The discussions also revolved around criminal prosecution. 

"Police and AGC (Attorney-General's Chambers) understand public concerns, on ensuring that our laws and enforcement provide sufficient protection for potential victims and sufficient deterrence against would-be offenders. That is the approach that Police and AGC take," the statement read.  

It added that in deciding whether to recommend prosecution for a criminal offence, "a number of factors are considered by Police in each case, including the age of the accused, the likelihood of reoffending/rehabilitation, the extent of remorse shown, whether there are aggravating factors (for example, like circulation of the offending images)". 

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In this case, the accused was "assessed to have a high likelihood of rehabilitation and was remorseful", said police. 

They added that there were additional factors relating to his conduct that were relevant, such as the absence of other obscene materials in any of his devices. 

"A prosecution, with a possible jail sentence, will likely ruin his entire future, with a permanent criminal record," said SPF, adding that the criminal justice system "seeks to temper punishment and deterrence, with giving offenders a second chance to reform, based on assessment of the relevant factors". 

"The approach in this case is consistent with the approach taken in other cases. There have been a number of similar cases, where such conditional warnings have been given," it said. 

LENIENCY ALLEGATIONS UNTRUE: POLICE

Police also said that allegations the accused was not prosecuted because he has influential parents were untrue. 

"The Police and AGC did not consider his parents' background. Such factors are irrelevant considerations. 

"It is unfortunate that such untruths have been put out. The man's parents have agreed for it to be disclosed that his father is a driver in the public transport sector and his mother is a housewife," said the authorities. 

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The authorities also said they were aware of comparisons being made between this case and a 2015 case involving a 23-year-old man who was jailed 10 weeks for filming a woman showering at Republic Polytechnic, and pointed out that the facts in that case were "quite different". 

"The accused in the RP case had committed multiple criminal trespass offences, taking deliberate action to avoid detection by covering up the CCTVs in the vicinity and covering his face with a towel, and did not own up voluntarily but was arrested following Police investigations to track him down.

"He was a former student of RP and had committed the offences over a period of four months. As such, the Police, in consultation with the AGC, prosecuted him in court," said police. 

In a series of Instagram Stories last Friday, Ms Baey had said that she caught the accused filming her with a mobile phone while she was in a hostel shower in November last year, and filed a police report. 

When told the accused was getting a warning, Ms Baey claimed she tried to appeal for a heavier sentence but was told by an investigation officer that she "just (had) to accept the outcome" or "go to NUS and push for action". 

"I am seriously distressed. My mental health is shit because of this incident," said Ms Baey, who asked for "real action". 

Ms Baey's Instagram Stories were viewed thousands of times and triggered the spread of at least two online petitions, one of which had garnered more than 33,000 signatures demanding "stiffer punishment" for the accused by noon on Tuesday. 

The series also included screenshots of messages she had received on the social media platform, including one that said: "I heard that (his) parents are powerful people. You might not want to anger them... I fear for your future."

Source: CNA/hs(hm)

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