SINGAPORE — A student from a top UK university who admitted to illicitly filming women, most of whom were known to him, was found to be unsuitable for probation on Monday (20 September).
This means that the 23-year-old man may be subject to other penalties such as reformative training, or imprisonment, when he is sentenced.
The man's lawyer Kalidass Murugaiyan, sought an adjournment from the District Judge as he had queries for the probation officer and the clinical psychologist who assessed his client. They relate to how the risk assessment process was carried out in assessing his client, and how their "moderate high" risk assessment was made.
The "moderate high" assessment appeared to be linked to his "poorly controlled" mental health condition, and seemed to be a significant factor in the probation officer's final decision, said defence counsel. He also wanted to clarify if a court-ordered mandatory treatment process would affect his or her assessment.
The accused had pleaded guilty on 29 July to seven out of 14 charges of insulting a woman’s modesty between 2015 and 2018, and one count of possessing five obscene films.
These relate to 12 female victims, 11 of whom he knew personally. He had filmed them mostly during gatherings at his residence.
The identity of the man is currently under a gag order to protect the victims. The prosecution is seeking to lift the gag order, stating in an earlier hearing that all the victims had been unanimous in their support of this.
A criminal motion regarding this matter has been fixed in the High Court and will be heard before Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon on Friday.
Victims in the case
The man's first offence took place on 2 December 2015, when he filmed an 18-year-old woman after their junior college’s prom night. It occurred when a group of their classmates were gathered in a hotel room. He placed a recording device in the toilet at 1.30am to capture her showering.
In early 2016, the JC principal informed the woman that a video of her showering was circulating on porn websites. She lodged a police report and detailed her ordeal in a victim impact statement.
Among his other offences was the recording of a 19-year-old victim in a toilet in the man's residence as she was relieving herself. He had invited her there for a Christmas gathering on 20 December 2016. Her video also ended up on a porn site.
The man filmed another woman, 20, in a similar manner when she visited his residence in 2018. He set up a recording device under the sink to capture her urinating. He filmed two other women in his home toilet in another Christmas gathering in 2018.
Another victim, 21, visited him at his university in the UK, after he offered to give her a tour of his university. The woman used his toilet during the visit and the man filmed her relieving herself.
In a previous hearing, the prosecution told the court that the victims had expressed the view that the gag order would be more harmful than helpful. All had also accepted the increased possibility of their identities being revealed.
They said the gag order would prevent them from helping female friends or potential victims of the man.
The man's case has been fixed for a pre-trial conference on 18 October.