After much hoo-ha across social media, over a District Judge’s decision to allow a high-profile Singaporean undergraduate of a prestigious UK university, to leave the country to take up studies, the same judge, Adam Nakhoda, over-ruled his own earlier ruling that allowed the accused to leave the Republic.
Agreeing with the Prosecutors that his exit constitutes a ‘high flight risk’, the Judge said:
“I agree with the prosecution that the newly produced log of phone text messages between the accused and one of his friends showed that the man was predisposed towards absconding and should therefore be considered a high flight risk.”
According to TODAY, the student, who is accused of filming women in toilets, returned to court two days after lawyers argued over two issues: Whether the judge should reverse his decision to allow him to travel overseas, and if the court order prohibiting his name from being published should be lifted.
The Judge, however, refused the Prosecution’s application to have a ‘gag order’ lifted, and hence the law still prohibits the publication of the name of the accused, or any action that may lead to the accused’s identity being exposed to the public. Gag orders are conveniently used by Singapore courts to argue on the basis that it might lead to a perpetrator’s victims’ being identified. However, this time round, there had been several victims who came out to say they do not mind the risk, and that his identity should not be concealed to the public:
“However, I decline to lift the gag order over the accused’s name because there are still two victims who have not unequivocally agreed to the risk that their identities will become known.”
According to TODAY, out of his 12 alleged victims, 10 of them wanted his identity published.
Prosecutors have said that for the remaining two, one “expressed some reservations”, while the last one — a 16-year-old minor — was not consulted at her family’s request.
“I agree that the victims’ consent to the accused’s identity being disclosed does not amount to the victims waiving their rights to anonymity.
“It is a case of them accepting the risks that their identities may be exposed if the identity of the accused is made known,” the judge said.
As a result, even the university he attends, is not named.
However, States Times Review quesitioned the special treatment given to this particular case, apparently because of the “rich” background of the accused.
“Previous peeping tom cases have (seen) all the perpetrators identified and this is the first time a criminal was protected by the gag order”, STR said.