SINGAPORE: A Singaporean man accused of illicitly filming 11 women made an application in court to leave the country to attend a top British university, but the prosecution objected to his request in submissions numbering nine pages.
The 22-year-old undergraduate, who cannot be named due to gag orders preventing the publication of anything that may identify the victims, wanted to leave Singapore so he can attend the second term at a top university in England.
The university cannot be named as it might identify the accused and therefore the victims.
However, the prosecutors on Wednesday (Jan 8) urged the court to reject his application, saying the strong evidence against him and potential conviction are incentives for him to abscond.
The young man was charged in October with two counts of insulting a woman's modesty by filming two women inside toilets.
He was slapped with several more offences last week, most of them in the same vein, and with nine more women listed in charges.
Deputy Public Prosecutors Foo Shi Hao and Tan Zhi Hao said that the accused had secretly filmed at least 11 women in total, capturing close-up images of their private parts and faces, over three years.
Many of the victims were lured to his home and filmed with cameras he had secretly placed in his toilet, and the accused himself appeared in two of the 20 clips.
The student had indicated last week that he wanted to claim trial to all the charges, and the prosecution urged District Judge Adam Nakhoda to dismiss his application to leave jurisdiction.
They said the accused was a flight risk who was unlikely to return if he leaves the country, and that he had not given sufficient reasons for the court to grant him his request.
An investigation officer on the case wrote in an affidavit that at least two of the videos were found to be circulating online, and one of the victims was just 15.
The prosecution told the court that the accused was pursuing his education at "one of the world's most reputed universities" and could "live comfortably" outside of Singapore.
They added that his family "is of substantial means" and can support him while he is overseas, pointing out that he was able to afford his S$198,000 university education so far.
The prosecutors added that the accused's undergraduate education is likely to be disrupted at some point, and that it is "in the interests of all parties and the effective administration of justice that the case is resolved as fairly and quickly as possible".
"If the accused’s chief concern is indeed to minimise the disruption to his education, all parties’ interests would be well served if the accused remained in Singapore for the matter to progress expeditiously," they said.
The judge adjourned the case and will make his decision known this Friday.
The penalty for each charge of insulting a woman's modesty is a maximum jail term of a year, a fine, or both.