Judge on man who took upskirt videos in supermarket says jail is norm for such offences

Wan Ting Koh
Reporter
Yahoo News Singapore file photo

SINGAPORE — He took two upskirt videos of a woman he found attractive in a supermarket.

When Law Boon Kaih later checked the video, the woman’s boyfriend came up to him and demanded to see his phone.

In response, Law showed him the video but fast forwarded it to the end. He then tried to flee from the woman’s boyfriend, who pinned him down.

Law, a 28-year-old Malaysian, was sentenced to five weeks’ jail on Monday (9 December) after he admitted to one count of insulting the 18-year-old woman’s modesty on 29 August, with another related count involving a separate woman taken into consideration for sentencing. The management trainee at a food & beverage outlet also pleaded guilty to possessing three obscene films on his mobile phone.

District Judge Adam Nakhoda, who presided over the case, noted that while Law had voyeuristic disorder, his case did not warrant a departure from the norm of a jail term in most upskirt offences.

Pinned down by boyfriend

On 29 August last year, at about 10.30pm, the victim and her boyfriend were shopping at Prime Supermarket at Block 962 Jurong West Street 91 when Law saw the woman, who was wearing a skirt.

Finding the woman attractive, Law waited for a chance to take upskirt videos of her.

As the woman looked over vegetables, Law stood close to her and squatted down for about 10 to 20 seconds. He used the video recording function on his phone to record under her skirt.

The woman’s boyfriend noticed the close proximity of Law and was suspicious. After the couple left the vegetable section, Law followed them. The boyfriend then noticed Law holding a mobile phone and squatting down again.

Law later left the supermarket and took out his mobile phone to check whether he had managed to capture upskirt videos of the victim. The boyfriend noticed the act and stopped Law outside the supermarket.

He demanded that Law show him his phone and the latter refused at first. He eventually revealed the video but fast-forwarded it to the end and tried to flee from the boyfriend, who pinned him down.

A passerby called the police.

The two videos of the victim captured her inner thighs and her upper torso.

During investigations, Law admitted to trying to capture upskirt videos of women seven other times before the incident at the supermarket. His modus operandi similarly involved squatting down and filming under the skirts of female victims who were distracted.

Law’s phone also contained three obscene videos which he downloaded from the chat app WeChat.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Yun Ling sought at least six weeks’ jail, citing deterrence as the main sentencing consideration.

Law’s voyeuristic disorder was not a relevant mitigating factor as his psychiatric reports failed to show how the disorder impacted his ability to control his actions, the DPP said. That Law had difficulty in controlling his actions was a “bare assertion” and unsupported by evidence, added the prosecutor.

However, Law’s lawyer Wee Hong Shern disagreed, citing a medical report showing that his client’s culpability was diminished due to his condition, which was causally linked to his offence.

His client has also made significant progress after attending counselling sessions and has been deemed to be at a low risk of offending, said Wee.

The lawyer sought a fine for his client, who was supporting his ailing parents. Law had come to Singapore for a fresh start after his best friend cheated on him with his girlfriend, according to Wee.

Self control not diminished: judge

In sentencing Law, District Judge Adam Nakhoda noted that it has “generally been the norm that custodial sentences are imposed” for upskirt offences.

In Law’s case, DJ Nakhoda said, “I disagree that a different sort of sentence should be imposed because of the psychiatric report showing that there is a causal link, or psychiatric opinion that there is causal link, between the diagnosis of voyeurism and the commission of the offence.

“I would emphasise that there is no indication which has been established that his self control was diminished or that this is an impulse control disorder.”

For insulting the modesty of a woman, Law could have been jailed up to a year, or fined, or both.

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