Prison officer fined $10k for unauthorised data access

A prison officer who accessed data in Changi Prison's computer system without authority was fined the maximum $5,000 on each of two charges yesterday.

Rajeswaran Jayaram 27, who pleaded guilty to two of six charges, retrieved the case profile of a former inmate from the Prison Operations and Rehabilitation System (Ports) in November 2013.

Rajeswaran, then a staff sergeant with the Singapore Prison Service, has been suspended from work since February this year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Victoria Ting said Rajeswaran had been in a relationship with Ms Benazir Begum, 26, who bore him a child.

Later, their relationship soured and they went to the Family Court over custody of the child.

On Dec 18, 2013, Rajeswaran's lawyer wrote to the Family Court stating that a man allegedly in a relationship with Ms Benazir, Mr Rajamanikem Sivalingam, 32, had been convicted for rioting and had served sentence.

The lawyer added that it would not be in the interests of the child if Ms Benazir was in the company of Mr Rajamanikem, who was married, but was undergoing divorce proceedings.

Suspecting that Rajeswaran had accessed confidential data about Mr Rajamanikem's criminal records, Ms Benazir and Mr Rajamanikem complained to the authorities in July last year.

Investigations showed that Rajeswaran had accessed the system and searched for Mr Rajamanikem's personal details.

Rajeswaran claimed that he had been receiving threatening phone calls from unknown callers.

Suspecting that the calls were made by Mr Rajamanikem and his friends, he searched the system to see the man's photo for fear of his own safety.

He said he did not access it to get information for his custody proceedings, as alleged by Ms Benazir.

Rajeswaran could have been fined and jailed for up to two years on each charge .

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2015, with the headline 'Prison officer fined $10k for unauthorised data access'. Print Edition | Subscribe