Chief Justice orders voyeur from top UK university to be named after 11 victims pressured to revoke gag order

SINGAPORE: The Chief Justice on Friday (September 24) ordered that a Singaporean voyeur at a top university in the United Kingdom be named after 11 of his victims stepped forward to press for the gag order to be lifted.

This comes after a lengthy battle between prosecutors and defense attorney Kalidass Murugaiyan to get the perpetrator, 23-year-old Colin Chua Yi Jin, named.

This is a departure from the usual cases of sexual offenses, where gag orders are usually used to protect the identity of the victims. Once the accused is attached to the victims, the gag order can also extend to their identity, even if the intention is solely to protect the victims.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon clearly set out the principles behind the gag ruling, stating unequivocally that the accused’s interests in this “count for nothing”, especially after the 11 victims declared that they would relinquish their usual rights to have him named.

“Truly, the person requesting the gag order is your client because he wants to benefit from the protection that the gag ruling gives him,” Chief Justice Menon told the defense attorney.

The names of the victims as well as the schools they attended remain under the amended gag order and cannot be made public.

In July, Chua pleaded guilty to seven counts of violating women’s modesty and one to eight counts of possession of obscene films.

WHAT HE DID

He recorded videos in women’s skirts and of victims in the bath from 2014 to 2015, when he was at junior college in Singapore, from 2016 to 2018, when he was a full-time national serviceman and from October 2018, when he studied at a university in the UK .

Chua would host gatherings for his friends in his home and invite victims there, but leave a video recording device on his toilet in advance to film them. Some of the videos ended up on pornographic sites and were viewed thousands of times.

In all, Chua rated the number of voyeuristic videos he filmed as “perhaps three-digit.” He said he committed the offenses when he felt stressed because of school or work, and felt that filming the victims “was an addiction” to him.

He filmed an 18-year-old victim after urging her to share a hotel room with him to rest after the party night in December 2015, but filmed her in the shower.

The nude video started circulating online and the principal of the girl’s JC informed her about it in early 2016. The video showing her in her prom dress was still circulating from August 2020 and had been viewed at least 177,000 times.

Another victim was 21 when she took Chua’s offer of a tour of the University of Britain. She was filmed using her toilet.

By Chua’s indictment of guilty prosecutor and the defense of the revocation of the gag verdict, and the district court judge ruled in favor of the prosecution that Chua should be named.

However, the defense requested a postponement of the ruling and the high court requested the decision.

MAIN JUSTICE ON THE PURPOSE OF GAG ORDER

On Friday, Chief Justice Menon opened by stating that the crux of the question was: “Whose interests are we protecting?”

“We all know the reason we have to make a muzzle,” he said. “It is a deterioration of the principles of open justice … there is in a way another interest, which is the protection of victims.”

“Why are we eager to protect victims? Because we do not want to make their punishment worse … we do not want to deter them from making reports against offenders. We do not want to make them afraid to invoke it … the law processes, “the chief judge said.

“Where the victims have come forward to say – in fact, I feel guilty because I may not have been able to help other victims because of the gag order, and I have introduced these other victims to the perpetrator, and I suffer, because I feel I am complicit in this by having to be quiet, how can we logically extend the gag order in this case? he asked Defense Attorney Mr Murugaiyan.

“When it really is the person requesting the gag order, it is your client because he wants to benefit from the protection that the gag ruling gives him,” the chief judge said.

“That is not the purpose of the gag verdict. The gag verdict has nothing to do with the benefit of the accused. It is entirely driven by the protection of the victims.”

He added that the victims spoke “with one voice” and accepted the risk of being identified if the accused were to be named.

“They accept that risk, but they also want to cleanse the guilt and fear they had that others have suffered and may still suffer – because of the gag order, they may not even be aware of what is going on. When you look at From that perspective, it’s very difficult to see how your client can raise this application at all. ”

DEFENSE RISES 12. UNKNOWN VICTIM

Murugaiyan tried to argue that not all the victims were initially unanimous, saying the prosecutors had “created the look” of this by withdrawing some charges.

There is also a 12th victim who is unknown and who has not indicated her position, he said.

The Chief Justice replied that this may be true, but she was not relevant to the case as she is not a witness for them.

State Attorney Nicholas Khoo called the defense’s application a rather “self-serving” and “cross-border junk,” and asked the defense to pay $ 2,000 in costs.

The Supreme Court Menon dismissed the application from the defense against the district court judge’s decision to name Chua.

He said Chua “only sought his own advantage” in a case “hastened under the guise of protecting” either existing victims or other unknown victims.

He ordered Chua to pay $ 2,000 in costs for his proposal.

Chua has not yet been convicted, but a city court heard Monday that he was found unfit for probation. He will then return to court in October.

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