Station Inspector fined for making unauthorised access to police computer system

SINGAPORE - Suspecting his then-wife of engaging in an extra-marital affair, a police station inspector illegally accessed the computer system at his workplace to check on a suspicious number reflected on his phone bill.

Sharul Osman, 41, who pleaded guilty to two charges under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, was fined $8,000 on Wednesday (Feb 7).

Court documents show that he has since been interdicted or suspended on half pay and his marriage was dissolved on June 7 last year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Alexander Woon said that Sharul was attached to Orchard Neighbourhood Police Centre and was part of the Ground Response Force.

In January 2016, he looked at his phone bill and found that his then-wife made an unusual number of calls to a certain number.

The calls were between 30 minutes and two hours long and he suspected that she was having an affair. He did a search on Facebook and found that the number belonged to a man.

Shahrul's wife is also a police officer and was attached to the Home Team Academy as a trainer, his lawyer, Mr Sng Kheng Huat, told the court in his mitigation. The number belonged to one of her trainees who was then doing his National Service.

Sharul texted the man who replied that there was nothing wrong with him talking to her.

Annoyed, Sharul decided to meet him in person and screened the number using the Frontline Officer's Computerised System (Focus) at his workplace to better prepare himself for the confrontation.

The system allows police officers to lodge reports and carry out online searches for details of reports lodged by members of public.

"All officers who use Focus are aware that the system can only be used for official purposes," said DPP Woon.

While at work at around 8.50pm on Feb 15, 2016, Sharul used the username and password belonging to a colleague to enter the Focus system.

He knew the other officer's details as he had seen him logging in while they were on duty together. Sharul used his colleague's account to avoid detection, the court heard.

Pleading for a fine on Wednesday, Mr Sng said: "The defendant committed the offences in a sheer moment of folly and momentary lapse of judgement on his part."

First time offenders convicted of making unauthorised access to a computer can be jailed for up to two years and fined $5,000 for each charge.

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