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Suspended NUS student gets jail, fine for filming women showering in hall, upskirting internship colleague

Suspended NUS student gets jail, fine for filming women showering in hall, upskirting internship colleague

Joel Rasis Ismail leaving the State Courts on Oct 2, 2019. (Photo: TODAY)

SINGAPORE: A suspended National University of Singapore (NUS) student was jailed for 12 weeks and fined S$1,500 on Tuesday (Oct 20) for filming women showering in the university hall toilets and taking upskirt clips of an internship colleague.

Joel Rasis Ismail, 27, had committed the offences despite being aware of a similar incident in 2018 at NUS' Eusoff Hall involving Ms Monica Baey, which later led to reforms on sexual misconduct cases in universities.

Joel had pleaded guilty last month to three counts of insulting a woman's modesty and one count of criminal trespass, with another seven charges taken into consideration for sentencing.

He is currently serving a three-semester suspension by NUS and is not allowed on campus.

Explaining his decision for the sentence on Tuesday, District Judge Adam Nakhoda said Joel had committed two distinct sets of insulting modesty offences - first in 2016 when he filmed two upskirt videos of his internship colleague, and recording other women showering on campus in 2019.

He agreed with the prosecution that Joel's offending conduct had escalated, from taking upskirt videos to trespassing into female toilets on women-only floors in NUS to film four victims showering. In total, there are seven female victims.

There was a high degree of intrusion in the shower offences, where the victims were naked and were entitled to feel safe to go about their daily activities, said the judge.

He noted that there was no evidence Joel was suffering from depression during the first set of offences in 2016, and Joel was also not suffering from any psychiatric disorder during the 2019 offences. Instead, he was "purposeful and deliberate".

The judge said the defence counsel had asked him to consider that as a result of his conviction, Joel "may have thrown away a potentially bright future".

"With respect, I disagree," said the judge, adding that this was not relevant.

However, he accepted that Joel has sought psychiatric assistance but said these factors were insufficient to trump the need for general deterrence as well as deterrence specific to Joel.

READ: NUS student accused of filming female hallmate in shower changed his clothes to avoid being identified

NUS previously said that a board of discipline had been convened in June 2019 to look into the case, and imposed sanctions on Joel including a three-semester suspension, mandatory counselling and rehabilitation sessions.

These sanctions will be part of his formal education record at NUS, and he is not currently allowed on campus. 

"In addition, NUS will look into whether there are any other offences that have been committed by Joel, and were not disclosed by him to the university," said the spokesperson, who added that another board of discipline could be convened if new information on other possible offences arises from court proceedings.

NUS had also enhanced its disciplinary framework for sexual misconduct offences since June 2019 including suspension and expulsion, as well as safety and security measures. It has also provided "greater support for victims through the Victim Care Unit, and has introduced training for all staff and students to build a culture of respect", said the spokesperson.

For each charge of insulting a woman's modesty, Joel could have been jailed for up to a year and fined. For criminal trespass, he could have been jailed for up to three months, fined up to S$500, or both.

Source: CNA/ll(ta)

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