Court increases jail terms of men who leaked intimate shots of wife and rival, sets sentencing framework
The High Court set out a sentencing framework for future cases of distribution of intimate images or recordings, and held that caning would be warranted in some cases.
SINGAPORE: Two men who leaked intimate shots of other people had their sentences for the offence increased on Thursday (Dec 1) after the High Court allowed the prosecution's appeal.
At the same time, the court - comprising Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Justice Steven Chong and Justice Vincent Hoong - laid down a sentencing framework for the offence of distributing an intimate image or recording.
The first offender, originally sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail, will now be jailed for 18 months instead for the offence. The second offender saw his jail term increased from 18 months to 33 months, on top of receiving two additional strokes of the cane.
The two unrelated cases are known as GED and GEH. Although unrelated, the prosecution had asked for the appeals to be heard together as similar issues and novel legal questions would be raised in both cases.
GED had posted images showing his naked wife having sex with her supervisor on Facebook, while GEH had taken a video of a man he suspected was having an affair with his wife. He had recorded the video while his accomplices attacked the man and held him in a chokehold, exposing his genitals.
The video showed the victim's genitals and injured face and was sent to more than 500 of the victim's contacts.
GED was sentenced in the State Courts to 13 weeks' jail in total for his crimes, for which 12 weeks was for the distribution offence.
A district court sentenced GEH to 36 months' jail, four strokes of the cane and a S$1,500 fine for all his crimes, which include other unrelated offences like using insulting language. Of this, 18 months' jail was for the distribution offence.
The prosecution filed magistrate's appeals in both cases.
Delivering the written judgment on Thursday, the Chief Justice laid down a five-step sentencing framework for future cases involving Section 377E(1), of distributing an intimate image or recording.
He said the offence took effect on Jan 1, 2020 and specifically criminalises, for the first time in Singapore's law, the distribution of intimate images or recordings of another person without consent.
The framework involves five steps and include first considering the offence-specific factors about the harm caused to the victim and the offence-specific factors going towards the accused person's culpability.
The court found that caning would presumptively be warranted in certain situations, such as when an offender uses criminal or violent means to capture the intimate images or recordings, or where the offender widely disseminates such footage where the victim is identifiable.
After applying the new framework to the two cases, the court revised GED's sentence for the distribution offence from 12 weeks' jail to 18 months' jail. After including his sentences for his other offences, his total sentence is 18 months and one week's jail.
GEH's sentence for the distribution offence was increased from 18 months' jail to 33 months' jail, with two strokes of the cane. After factoring in his jail terms for other offences, he received a total of four years and three months' jail, six strokes of the cane and a fine of S$1,500.