Joshua Robinson case: Govt to relook penalties for such offences

Joshua Robinson was sentenced to 4 years’ jail on 2 March. (Photo: Screengrab from YouTube)

Offences like those committed by Joshua Robinson could draw harsher penalties in future, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said on Wednesday (8 March) in response to media queries.

Shanmugam, who was on a working trip to Australia, said: “I do think that the sentences for such offences committed by Robinson need to be relooked at… I have asked my officials to consider what approaches are necessary for offenders like Robinson to be dealt with more severely through higher penalties.”

But the minister declined to say what those penalties could be, as it was “premature to answer this now”.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) released a statement offering clarification on its decision not to appeal the sentence of the 39-year-old mixed-martial arts instructor, who had pleaded guilty to nine charges. It explained why the cases did not amount to either statutory rape, nor outrage of modesty or sexual assault. The AGC stated that “the sentences imposed in this case were broadly in line with relevant sentencing precedents”, and that it would discuss with the Ministry of Law whether legislation should be reviewed “to enhance sentencing for some of the offences”.

Last Thursday (2 March), Robinson was sentenced to four years’ jail for having unprotected sex with two 15-year-old girls and for showing obscene video to a six-year-old girl. The decision drew public ire, with a petition calling it “unacceptable and absolutely intolerable” drawing some 28,000 signatures so far.