SINGAPORE: A married man who filmed his maid in the toilet three times was sentenced to 10 weeks' jail on Tuesday (Mar 17).
In his mitigation, the man's lawyer said his wife is now the sole breadwinner for the family, which is undergoing a difficult situation as they are now unable to engage a maid.
Paul Tay Yew-Kwang, 43, pleaded guilty to one charge of insulting a woman's modesty, with two other such charges taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that the victim, a 32-year-old woman, had been working for Tay's family for a year and eight months before the offences were uncovered.
She had a good relationship with Tay's family, especially with Tay's children.
Tay first filmed the woman in the toilet in November 2018 at his flat. He did so again with his phone a month later.
At about 3pm on Feb 25, 2019, the victim was taking a shower in the kitchen bathroom when she reached for the tap to rinse off her shampoo.
She noticed from the reflection of the mirror hung on the toilet wall that there was a black mobile phone in the gap above the bathroom door.
She screamed in shock and rushed out of the bathroom, but did not see anyone outside, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Norine Tan.
Tay had run back to his room and did a factory reset of his mobile phone, restoring it to factory settings, in order to avoid detection.
He then returned to the kitchen and pretended to ask the maid what had happened.
He told her that the perpetrator must have been someone else who had entered the house and said he would check if security could identify the person from surveillance footage.
Tay's wife later accompanied the maid to make a police report.
The police questioned Tay later that evening, but he denied committing the offence.
He admitted it only three days later while giving a further statement. He said he wished to come clean and said he had taken a video of the victim while she was showering.
He added that he had done so on the other two occasions in November and December 2018.
The prosecutor pushed for at least 12 weeks' jail, saying the offence had caused harm to the victim and affected her livelihood.
"The victim may have found alternative employment, but even if this was the case, she had to leave this family ... the emotional disruption to her ... must have been significant," she said.
Tay's defence lawyer said his client was a first-time offender and had cooperated with police, voluntarily providing information.
"Around the time the offences were committed, the accused was at the lowest point of his life because he was just rendered jobless," said the lawyer.
"He was depressed and worried for his family, he also had two young children to feed. His wife is now the sole breadwinner but he accepts this is no excuse," said the lawyer, adding that his client had written a personal apology to the victim.
He said Tay's family has been unable to engage a domestic helper because of the situation, calling it a "difficult" one.
He added that the wife has been working full-time while Tay has been looking after their children and asked the judge to take this into consideration.
The lawyer argued that 12 weeks' jail would be "somewhat harsh" and said Tay had committed the February offence in the spur of the moment when he heard the victim taking a shower.
The judge pointed out, however, that this was his third time filming the maid.
"In fact, it strikes me more as opportunistic," said District Judge Adam Nakhoda, adding that the victim was a vulnerable one.
He granted Tay's request to defer sentence to May 15.
For each charge of insulting a woman's modesty, he could have been jailed for up to a year, fined or both.
As the offence was committed against a domestic worker he employed, he could have been given up to one-and-a-half times the maximum sentences for the offence.