Singapore

Reoffender gets 15 weeks’ jail for taking upskirt videos

A 24-year-old man recorded upskirt videos just months after completing probation for a similar offence.

Marcus Phua Xie Yi was sentenced to 15 weeks' jail yesterday after pleading guilty to 15 charges of insult of modesty. The court took into consideration 28 other similar charges.

Phua took the upskirt videos on multiple occasions between May and October 2018, committing the offences at various locations, including near the Singapore Institute of Management and several MRT stations.

The court heard he would typically follow victims from behind and use his mobile phone to record a video clip when they were on the escalator or staircase in front of him.

He was caught on Oct 12 that year after he followed a woman as she alighted at the bus stop in Clementi Road in front of the Singapore University of Social Sciences.

He recorded a video clip as the victim was going up an overhead bridge and then returned to the bus stop. Another man was at the overhead bridge and noticed what Phua had done. The man confronted Phua, who then deleted the video clips he had taken that day. A police report was made by a companion of the man who confronted Phua.

The court heard Phua was given probation in 2016 for a similar offence, completing it about eight months before reoffending.

Phua's lawyers Josephus Tan and Cory Wong urged the court to call for a report assessing their client's suitability for a mandatory treatment order (MTO). Offenders given an MTO will undergo treatment for their mental condition in lieu of jail time. The lawyers said in mitigation that their client was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and had lost family members when he was younger.

But Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Shin Hui urged the court to jail Phua for 18 weeks, pointing to an Institute of Mental Health report that stated that his mental condition did not affect his judgment or self-control.

In sentencing Phua, District Judge Marvin Bay said: "There is a need to ensure that girls and women feel free to use public transport, facilities and thoroughfares without any fear that their privacy is being surreptitiously and perversely intruded upon."

The judge allowed Phua's request to defer his jail term to May 24 to allow him to settle personal affairs.

Phua could have been jailed for up to a year, or fined, or both for each offence.

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.

COURT & CRIME