2-year treatment order for voyeur unable to resist filming co-workers and in-laws in restroom

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SINGAPORE — A voyeur was handed a two-year compulsory treatment order on Friday July 8, escaping jail time after a psychiatrist discovered his mental illnesses made it difficult for him to resist his urges.

The 32-year-old Singaporean, who cannot be named due to a gag order aimed at protecting the identities of his victims, had fled while taking upskirt videos at a mall in 2018 when his victim hadn’t reported it to the police.

For more than a year until his arrest in 2019, he resumed filming women’s skirts and secretly filmed his female colleagues in unisex toilets at their workplace.

He also placed a pinhole camera in his in-laws’ house to film his wife’s sisters in the shower.

On Friday, District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan accepted the prosecution’s proposal for the Compulsory Treatment Order – a community sentencing option available to mentally ill offenders who contributed to the offence.

Deputy Attorney General (DPP) Niranjan Ranjakunalan referred to an additional report prepared by psychiatrist Stephen Phang from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

When the defendant pleaded guilty in March to three counts of indecently insulting a woman, the prosecution had requested 16 to 20 weeks in jail.

Dr. Phang, who assessed the defendant for a compulsory treatment order, said in his report that he could have experienced a depressive episode in its own right at the time of his offenses, as well as his adjustment disorder with previously diagnosed depressed mood.

This “abnormal state of a combination of psychiatric illnesses” led the defendant to have “significant difficulty in resisting his deviant urges”, Dr Phang said.

The psychiatrist added that the defendant’s “emotional and volitional control” was most likely also significantly impaired.

He has made good progress in his treatment and his chances of recurrence will be reduced with appropriate and robust psychiatric treatment, Dr Phang said. He agreed to be the accused’s treating psychiatrist.

For this reason, the prosecution did not object to the imposition of a mandatory treatment order. The defendant’s attorney, Wee Pan Lee, agreed with this.

District Judge Shaiffudin warned the man not to violate any of the terms of his community sentence because it would be revoked and he could be sent back to court to be sentenced again.

WHAT HAPPENED

When the defendant was arrested and examined at IMH, he told Dr Phang that he found that taking upskirt videos ‘helped alleviate his subjective feelings of stress and distress’ and that he would do so “almost every day” during his breaks and travels.

He started filming women’s skirts around December 2017 in places such as a Sheng Siong supermarket, an MRT station, and public buses.

One of the victims was a friend from university who was following the same course as him. Court documents did not name the university.

From 2018 to 2019, he also targeted his colleagues, following one into their workplace bathroom and filming her relieving herself.

During the investigations, he admitted that he no longer remembered the names of the colleagues he was filming. He also admitted to watching the videos in whatever cabin he was in and masturbating.

In September 2018, a woman whom he didn’t know caught him trying to take an upskirt video of her at the Tiong Bahru Plaza mall and confronted him. In the end, she did not report the matter to the police.

Following this incident, he then deleted all voyeuristic videos from his cell phone and transferred them to his laptop.

He then married in October 2018 and visited his in-laws in their flat that year, placing a pinhole camera – which was hidden in an enclosure – in their kitchen toilet. He hid the camera in a basket containing brushes and scrubs.

When the device stopped working, he smashed it with a hammer and threw it away.

In March 2019, he started uploading upskirt videos from the online sex-themed forum Sammyboy and amassed at least 110 of those clips. He also uploaded three of his own videos to the forum.

His wave of voyeurism finally ended after one of his colleagues caught him filming her in the bathroom on December 3, 2019. He had tailed her out of their office to do so.

Under the Penal Code, those convicted of insulting a woman’s indecent exposure may be imprisoned for up to one year or fined, or both.

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