Say NO to Favorable Sentences for "Educated" Sex Offenders
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On September 25 2019, the Singapore rule of law took another step backwards in protecting the modesty of females. In describing defendant Terence Siow Kai Yuan's molestation offences as "minor intrusions" several times during the final judgment, as well as accepting that his education status as an undergraduate and "potential to excel in life" was a mitigating factor against prescribing a jail sentence, District Judge Jasvender Kaur has insulted a nation of mothers and daughters.
About the Offence
Siow, a 23-year-old National University of Singapore (NUS) student, was on a train on the North East Line heading towards Punggol station at about 11.30pm on Sept 12 last year when he noticed a woman with "very long legs" in a pair of shorts.
Siow sat next to her and felt the urge to touch her, the court heard.
When he used his left hand to touch the outside of her right thigh, she shifted away from him and crossed her legs.
When Siow touched her right thigh again, she moved to another seat, and later alighted at Serangoon station.
But Siow followed her as he felt the urge to touch her again. As she was on an escalator, he stood behind her and used his finger to touch her buttocks over her shorts.
The woman turned around and shouted at him as he walked quickly towards the control station. She told a station officer she had been molested and pointed to Siow as he was leaving the station.
The woman made a police report about 1½ hours later.
The police arrested the suspect three days later.
What went on in the courtroom?
A probation suitability report for Siow was conducted, but Deputy Public Prosecutor Benedict Chan yesterday said the prosecution objected to probation for Siow and urged the court to jail him for six weeks instead, considering that Siow had admitted in the probation report to committing similar acts since he enrolled in NUS in 2016.
DPP Chan said it was troubling that Siow was unable to recall the number of times he had committed such acts.
Calling them a "deep-seated habit", he added: "The accused knew it was wrong but was emboldened after previous successes. He only sought help after facing the university's Board of Discipline."
Judge to the rescue?
DPP Chan added that Siow was "normal in every sense" and did not suffer from any disorder.
But Judge Kaur questioned the prosecution's position on sentencing, saying that Siow had an inability to control his urges.
She said: "Looking at the nature of intrusion, I would say it is minor."
When DPP Chan pointed out that Siow had committed three such acts, she acknowledged this but reiterated that "they were minor".
When he said two of the acts involved skin-to-skin contact, Judge Kaur said that it was "just a brief touch on the thigh".
Urging the court to grant probation, Siow's lawyer Raphael Louis said his client would be graduating from NUS in one to two years.
"He's getting help, he wants to change, he has learnt his lesson," he said.
When he asked Judge Kaur if she would like to hear the defence's position should probation not be called for, she said there was no need.
Noting his academic results and the recommendation for probation, the judge said: "I think there can be no doubt that there is extremely strong propensity for reform.
"He was 22 years old when he committed the offences... and the nature of the acts (is) relatively minor."
Apart from being sentenced to 21 months of supervised probation, Siow was also ordered to perform 150 hours of community service, and his parents were bonded for $5,000 to ensure his good behaviour.
Addressing Siow, the judge said: "I have every confidence you will not re-offend and hope you don't disappoint me."
After the sentence was handed out, DPP Chan asked the court for a stay of execution for 14 days so that the prosecution can consider its position on the judgement.
But Judge Kaur did not grant the request, and said the prosecution could go ahead and file an appeal if it wished to do so.
Siow is getting help at NUS to manage his sexual urges, and is expected to be back in school, the court heard.
When contacted by The New Paper yesterday, the victim said she was "disappointed but not surprised" by the outcome of the case.
For each count of outrage of modesty, Siow could have been jailed for up to two years, fined and/or caned.
(Link to Mothership.sg article: https://mothership.sg/2019/09/singapore-crime-nus-molest-good-grades)
It is time to act.
It is time to take a stand against favoritism for sex offenders, just because their educational background suggests they have a bright future. (Sure, a bright future for himself and the Singapore economy, but a walking threat for everyone of the opposite gender.)
It is time to reinforce the good work done by Monica Baey in the aftermath of the NUS Peeping Tom scandal (where the school had refused to act and the courts sentenced him with a conditional warning) and not let a first-world country degenerate into a chauvinistic society with third-world judicial decisions.
It is time to protect our daughters against the flagrant disregard of the severity of sexual offences by our very own powers that be.
Sign the petition now and take a stand.
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