Probation not recommended for S'porean from UK uni who took voyeuristic videos of women: Prosecutor

SINGAPORE - Probation is not recommended for a Singaporean student from a top British university who made voyeuristic videos of several women here, a district court heard on Monday (Sept 20).

The prosecution told this to the court after the offender was earlier assessed, including by a probation officer, for his suitability for probation.

On July 29, the man, 23, had pleaded guilty to seven counts of insulting the women's modesty and an offence under the Films Act.

On Monday, defence lawyer Kalidass Murugaiyan told the court that he had some questions for the probation officer and psychologist who attended to the offender.

The lawyer told District Judge Tan Jen Tse he wanted to know how the risk assessment was undertaken.

The offender, who cannot be named due to a gag order, is now out on bail of $20,000. His pre-trial conference will be held on Oct 18.

During the earlier proceeding on July 29, the court heard that the clips he recorded involved 11 identified women and one unknown victim.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Foo Shi Hao then applied to the court for the gag order on his identity to be lifted, noting that the victims were unanimous in supporting the move.

The gag order had been issued earlier to protect the women, who could be identified if the man is named. The order also does not allow the university to be named as doing so could lead to his identity being revealed.

Urging the court to reject the application, Mr Ashvin Hariharan, who is also representing the offender, pointed out that the prosecution had been unsuccessful in making a similar application previously.

When Judge Tan ruled that the gag order be lifted, the defence said they may raise the matter to the High Court. In the meantime, the gag order remains.

The offender, who started his university studies in 2018, targeted his first victim, then 18, in the wee hours on Dec 2, 2015. He placed a recording device in a hotel room toilet to film her showering.

In early 2016, the principal of her junior college told her the clip had been circulating online. The police were alerted.

The offender continued targeting more women. He installed a recording device in a toilet in his home, and took an upskirt video of a 20-year-old while she was on an escalator.

The court heard that two of the videos were circulated online.

After receiving multiple reports between early 2016 and June 2019, the police identified the man as the main suspect.

They raided his home on July 3, 2019, and seized seven of his personal devices. Forensic analysis uncovered 16 other offending videos and 124 upskirt photographs.

He had recorded the two videos that were circulated online and the other 16 found in his devices. Fourteen of the 18 videos were taken at his home.

He later came clean to the police about what he had done.

DPP Tan Zhi Hao had earlier said: "In total, (the offender) estimated that the number of voyeuristic videos he had filmed was 'maybe three digits'.

"He would commit the offences when he felt stressed from school or work. He felt that filming the victims 'was an addiction' to him."

For each charge of insulting a woman's modesty, an offender can be jailed for up to a year and fined.

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