SINGAPORE: A 24-year-old man took a video of a woman showering after he felt stressed about his financial situation and relationship problems, a court was told.
Edmund Chong was sentenced on Monday (Oct 21) after he was caught filming a 40-year-old tenant who was living in his grandmother's home. The victim had seen his phone above the toilet door and directed the shower head at his device before calling for help.
For his actions, Chong was jailed for seven weeks.
The court heard that Chong stayed at his grandmother's home on Mondays and Tuesdays as it was nearer to Temasek Polytechnic, where he was studying.
His grandmother rented out a room to the victim, a Malaysian national.
At about 8.30pm on May 14 this year, Chong was at his grandmother's house while the elderly woman went out to see a doctor. The victim was taking a shower in the kitchen washroom.
At the time, he "felt stressed about his financial situation and his relationship problems with his girlfriend", said Deputy Public Prosecutor Samuel Lim.
"As a result, the accused felt the urge to take a video of the victim showering," he said.
He went to the toilet, where the door did not extend fully to the ceiling, and perched his arm on top of the door while holding a OnePlus 6T mobile phone.
He turned on the camera function and recorded a video of the victim, who was showering at the time, the court heard.
About five minutes later, the victim sensed something amiss and looked around to see the black mobile phone pointed towards her from the top of the toilet door.
She quickly directed the shower head at the phone and sprayed water at it.
Chong realised he had been caught and retracted his hand, while the woman stopped showering and put on her clothes before leaving the toilet and going to her room to calm down.
She told her work supervisors about what had happened and called the police, while Chong knocked repeatedly on her door.
The police later arrived at the home and Chong admitted to his actions. Officers seized his phone, laptop and laptop charger.
Chong, who was unrepresented, pleaded guilty on Monday to one charge of intruding upon the victim's privacy with the intention to insult her modesty.
ACCUSED SAYS HE DOES NOT WANT TO GET A LAWYER
District Judge Adam Nakhoda asked Chong if he wished to engage a lawyer to help with mitigation, but Chong said he did not.
The prosecutor sought at least eight weeks' jail, noting that while Chong did not save the video, he knew the victim as she was his grandmother's tenant.
"The victim was showering fully unclothed so the act of video-taking was fully intrusive," said the prosecutor.
Chong spoke softly in his mitigation and was prompted by the court interpreter to speak up.
"I know that I did something wrong," he said. "I only wish to have a chance because I finally have a chance to get into poly to further my studies and I don't want to miss that opportunity."
The judge said that while he agreed with the prosecutor on some of his submissions, he felt that some of the factors in a similar case cited as a precedent for this were "more egregious than the current case", and imposed a week's less jail than the prosecution had asked for.
The phone was forfeited while the charger and laptop were ordered to be returned to Chong.
For intruding upon the privacy of a woman to insult her modesty, he could have been jailed for up to a year, fined, or both.