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Singapore

Former lawyer jailed for taking video of neighbour showering

Former lawyer jailed for taking video of neighbour showering

File photo of the State Courts in Singapore. (Photo: CNA/Calvin Oh)

SINGAPORE: Facing stress at work, a lawyer climbed into his neighbour's balcony to film a video of the young woman showering through her toilet window.

The 32-year-old man was on Thursday (Aug 18) jailed for 12 weeks after pleading guilty to two counts of voyeurism.

Two more charges of criminal trespass were considered for sentencing.

CNA is not naming the offender as this could lead to the identification of the victim, who is protected by a gag order.

The man has since left the legal profession and now works in a private enterprise, his defence counsel Shashi Nathan told the court.

The court heard that the offender and victim lived in neighbouring terrace houses at the time. The victim's master bedroom toilet had a window that overlooked a small balcony.

In the evening of Nov 23, 2020, the man climbed over the parapet into his neighbour's home when he realised that the victim was in the shower.

He could deduce it was the woman by listening for her voice or due to her habit of playing videos in the shower, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Yvonne Poon.

He went onto the balcony and held his phone outside her toilet window, with the camera facing in. But before he could start filming, the victim noticed him and shouted.

The man quickly escaped back home by climbing over the parapet, without having taken a video.

After the victim got dressed, she told her husband about what had happened and they went next door to confront the offender.

The man continuously apologised to the victim and asked the couple to keep their voices down.

He repeatedly asked if they could resolve the matter in any other way, and if they could speak at another location.

He also gave his phone to the victim to check for photos or videos of her, but she found nothing incriminating. The couple nevertheless called the police.

During investigations, the man admitted that several months ago, he had succeeded in taking a video of the victim showering.

On that occasion, he similarly heard the victim in the toilet and climbed over the parapet to take the video, which he subsequently deleted.

He told investigators that he committed the offences because he had been experiencing stress at work ever since the COVID-19 "circuit breaker" in April 2020.

The prosecution asked for 12 to 15 weeks' jail, highlighting that the man had intruded into the sanctity of the victim's home and filmed her fully nude.

There was premeditation as he made special note of the signs that pointed to the victim being the person in the shower and waited until it was her to film, said Ms Poon.

She added that it was fortuitous the victim looked up and saw the man's phone, or his offences would have gone undetected.

Mr Nathan told the court that his client was a young man who had been doing well in his career, but left the legal profession of his own accord after committing the offences.

"It shows courage. It shows his own self-awareness of what has happened and what he needs to do to do the right thing," said the lawyer, adding that the man wanted "a fresh start".

Mr Nathan asked for six weeks' jail, arguing that his client's actions were impulsive and that he had been going through a difficult period in his life at the time.

In sentencing, District Judge Eddy Tham said that the level of intrusion was high and harm caused to the victim was great as she was filmed showering in her own home.

It was "a big stretch" to say that the offender could relieve his stress by taking such videos of the victim, he said.

But the man showed remorse by coming clean when he was confronted, and admitting to the earlier offence even though no video recording was found, said the judge.

The penalty for voyeurism is up to two years' jail, a fine, caning or any combination of these punishments.

Source: CNA/dv(gr)

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