SINGAPORE — One of the administrators of a Telegram group which transmitted lewd photos of women was jailed eight weeks and fined $20,000 by the court on Wednesday (15 December), the first of four men to be dealt with.
Lincoln Anthony Fernandez, 31, pleaded guilty to two out of five counts of circulating obscene media via electronic means in Telegram group Sam’s lots of CB collection” and one count of possessing obscene media.
The three other men charged in relation to the same group have not been dealt with. They are group administrators Tan Yeow Chong, 40, and Yee Wing Kay, 46; and Wong Ming Jun, 28, who allegedly advertised sales of the obscene material.
Fernandez joined group in 2017
"Sam’s lots of CB collection” was a Telegram group chat linked to an adult forum on which users would discuss matters of a sexual nature. Fernandez joined the group as a member in 2017 and eventually became an administrator.
On 24 October 2019, a 23-year-old woman lodged a police report stating that members of the group had shared lewd and indecent photos of girls, and that there were more than 24,000 members in the group.
The following month, the police arrested Fernandez at his Yishun residence and seized his Oppo mobile phone. He was found to have 118 indecent films in his phone.
The court heard that on 15 October 2019 at about 3.33 am, Fernandez sent obscene photos of a partially nude woman to the 25,070 members of the group. He had obtained the photo from other Telegram group chats or by downloading it from the Internet.
At other unknown dates in 2019, Fernandez sent two more photos depicting two other partially nude women to the group, which had 24,960 members at that point.
Potential harm immense
The prosecution sought eight to 10 weeks’ jail and a fine of $20,000 for Fernandez. Deputy Public Prosecutor Bryont Chin said that the accused had broadcast the obscene pictures to a very large number of recipients - around 25,000 members on each charge.
He noted that each recipient could have broadcast the images to even more people, irreversibly disseminating them into the public domain even if the original sources were taken down. This would hence increase the magnitude and permanence of the potential harm caused.
The DPP also described the “degree of obscenity” of the pictures as “significant” as the genitals and faces of the women involved were visible.
Fernandez’s lawyer Riko Isaac Chua stressed that his client was not a mastermind of the group, but was originally a member before assuming the role of administrator. He added that Fernandez’s contributions were “quite small” as he had just transmitted four pictures.
Nevertheless, his client deeply regrets the offence and takes responsibility for his actions, but asked for leniency, said Chua.
As Fernandez is unemployed, he is unable to pay a fine and will have to serve a jail sentence in default, he added.
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