Ex-ambulance driver fined $1,500 for OSA offence by taking photo of dead body while on duty

He took picture of maid who had hanged herself; photo later ended up on social media

An ambulance driver took a picture of a dead body while attending to a case of a maid who had hanged herself in February last year.

He sent the photo on his mobile phone to his colleagues, and it soon found its way onto social media.

Shaik Haziq Fahmi Shaik Nasair Johar, 29, was working for private ambulance operator Unistrong Technology, which has a contract with the Government for its services.

Yesterday, Haziq, since dismissed from his job, was fined $1,500 under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

His former colleague, paramedic Nurizzah Afiqah Hussain, 27, was fined $3,000 last month for her role in disseminating the photo by sending it to her then boyfriend. She has also been sacked by Unistrong.

The incident came to light after the maid's employer became aware of the photograph's existence, and informed the investigating officer for the case.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Serene Yap told the court that Haziq was on duty on Feb 1 last year at Marine Parade Fire Post when a message came in from the control room.

The maid's employer had called the police to inform them that the maid had hanged herself while the family was overseas for five days.

Haziq and his team, including Nurizzah, then went to the apartment of the dead woman's employer.

While there, he used his mobile phone to take a photo of the body, as Nurizzah shone a torchlight on it.

It was his first time attending to a case of hanging and he wanted to share the picture in a chat group with his colleagues, although he was not authorised to do so, according to DPP Yap.

Nurizzah, who was in that chat group, later sent the photo to her then boyfriend, who forwarded it to another chat group.

The agent of the dead maid found out about the photo on social media, and told the employer. Shocked, the employer informed the investigating officer, who lodged a report.

The police began investigating, and on Feb 4 last year, Haziq was arrested at his home in Chai Chee Road. His mobile phone was also seized for investigations.

Defence lawyer Amarick Gill said in mitigation that Haziq already had his contract with Unistrong terminated and was remorseful for his actions. When Haziq took the photo, he had intended to send it only to his teammates, and did not personally disseminate it publicly, Mr Gill added.

In sentencing, District Judge Marvin Bay called Haziq's actions "deeply disturbing".

"Your act can cause intense anguish to the family of the deceased, who would be expected to be in a state of grief and shock in the light of her sudden and unnatural demise," he said.

He added that Haziq's actions intruded on the privacy of the family of the dead maid's employer too.

For the offence under the OSA, Haziq could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $2,000.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2018, with the headline Ex-ambulance driver fined $1,500 for OSA offence by taking photo of dead body while on duty. Subscribe