Man who took upskirt videos caught while viewing one on train

Royston Kesavan, who took seven upskirt videos of a classmate, was jailed for six weeks yesterday. The 40-year-old married man was doing a master's degree in health administration at Parkway College of Nursing and Allied Health at the time of his off
Royston Kesavan, who took seven upskirt videos of a classmate, was jailed for six weeks yesterday. The 40-year-old married man was doing a master's degree in health administration at Parkway College of Nursing and Allied Health at the time of his offence.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

A man who took upskirt videos of his classmate was caught while looking at one of the videos on the train.

Royston Kesavan, 40, was jailed for six weeks yesterday.

The married man pleaded guilty to one count of insulting a woman's modesty.

Kesavan was doing a master's degree in health administration at Parkway College of Nursing and Allied Health at the time of his offence.

On Sept 26, 2019, he met some classmates for a group discussion at a room at Academia @ Singapore General Hospital. At about 8.35pm, he recorded an upskirt video of a classmate sitting across from him at the table. She was the only one in the room wearing a skirt.

For the next 30 minutes, he positioned his phone under the table, angling the camera towards the victim. He took seven videos which lasted from two seconds to about 11/2 minutes.

At about 10.10pm, Kesavan was on his way home on a train towards Pasir Ris MRT station when he decided to look at one of the videos again. A Public Transport Security Command officer, who was on patrol, spotted him doing so.

They both alighted at City Hall station, and the officer instructed Kesavan to hand over his phone.

But the accused was reluctant to do so, and instead handed over his spare phone to the officer.

He eventually handed over the right phone, with the seven upskirt videos in the deleted folder. Kesavan was then arrested.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Phoebe Tan urged the court to jail him for eight weeks.

"There is a clear element of persistence in the present case... He was increasingly emboldened with each attempt," she said, noting that with the exception of the third and final attempts, the length of the videos had increased each time.

But Kesavan's lawyer Ramesh Varathappan asked the court to call for a probation suitability report for his client. Probation is typically for young offenders up to the age of 21, but is sometimes used as a sentencing option for older offenders in exceptional circumstances.

Mr Ramesh said the accused would be more receptive to probation as he was mature, and he was not diagnosed with any medical conditions and would thus have a lower chance of reoffending.

District Judge Adam Nakhoda then questioned the lawyer's line of reasoning, saying he had essentially turned the logic of probation as a sentencing option on its head.

The judge noted that in cases where a medical condition was assessed to be a contributory link, the court may consider a sentence that deals with the condition to prevent reoffending.

"In this case, there's no other factor that led (the accused) to committing these offences," he said.

Mr Ramesh then asked the court to consider a high fine with a short custodial sentence.

The judge said he agreed with the prosecution, and that a jail term was warranted. "The persistence in this case is quite extreme," he said.

"(The accused) took longer and longer videos, he was certainly goal-oriented and intent on capturing an upskirt video of the victim."

For insulting the modesty of a woman, Kesavan could have been jailed for up to a year, or fined, or both.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2021, with the headline 'Man who took upskirt videos caught while viewing one on train'. Subscribe