A gardener who showed a 13-year-old boy an obscene image in Botanic Gardens was sentenced to two weeks’ jail on Friday (19 May).
Chua Ah Guan, 59, pleaded guilty on 3 May to a single count of showing an obscene object to a person below 21 years old.
The incident happened on the morning of 23 December 2016 as the schoolboy was heading towards the Ministry of Education’s physical education training grounds for sports training.
As he was walking towards the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, Chua called to him in Mandarin, “Xiao di, lai kan yi xia (Boy, I have something to show you)”.
The boy went over and Chua showed him a picture of a penis on his mobile phone. The boy reacted by shouting “pervert” in Mandarin and called for help.
A passerby heard the commotion and approached the boy, who asked him to call the police.
Meanwhile, Chua apologised repeatedly to the boy. He disappeared before the police arrived but was eventually detained with the help of other Botanic Gardens staff.
Delivering his brief grounds of judgement, District Judge Kessler Soh said that Chua’s act had a “tendency to corrupt young children who must be protected from obscene material”. He called the offence “repugnant and offensive to society”.
Citing the case of Joshua Robinson, the mixed martial artist who received six months’ jail in March for showing an obscene video to a six-year-old girl, DJ Soh said Chua’s culpability was not as high.
However, given the young age of the schoolboy, a fine, as requested by Chua’s lawyer, would be “inadequate”, said DJ Soh.
Still, the four-month sentence requested by the prosecution was not warranted, DJ Soh added. He accepted the defence’s mitigation that Chua’s action was “out of character”.
“The picture was showed briefly. It was a part of the human anatomy and there was no evidence that it related to a sexual act,” said DJ Soh.
For his offence, Chua could have been jailed for up to a year, fined, or both.