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HomesingaporeUpskirter defended himself at trial, criticising police and AGC, but is convicted...

Upskirter defended himself at trial, criticising police and AGC, but is convicted and given jail

SINGAPORE: A man who took an upskirt image of a woman claimed trial to his charges, criticising the way the police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers handled the case, and saying he used to work for the Ministry of Manpower.

Tan Wee Jian, 37, claimed trial to a charge each of taking an upskirt image and possessing 11 upskirt images in his laptop.

He was convicted and sentenced on Monday (Oct 23) to eight weeks’ jail and ordered to surrender on Nov 6 to begin his imprisonment term, should he decide not to appeal.

According to a judgement made available on Thursday, the victim, identified only as Ms P, was heading home from work on Jun 15, 2021 and passing through Orchard MRT Station when the incident occurred.

She said she was wearing a white dress and standing on an escalator when she felt something touch the exposed back of her left thigh.

She testified that she turned and saw a man just behind her, holding his phone stretched out towards her thigh.

She shouted “Oi!” at him. He did not respond, but stared at her for a few seconds before hurrying past her up the escalator.

Ms P said she was “shocked, scared and a bit traumatised” and did not give chase, but later told another woman what happened.

She “agonised” over it before lodging a police report, and was so distressed that she avoided taking that route for a week. Instead, she had her family accompany her.

INVESTIGATIONS

A chief controller at SMRT extracted closed-circuit television footage at Orchard MRT station after receiving a request from the police.

The footage partly corroborated Ms P’s testimony, capturing a person standing close behind her on the escalator.

It also showed Ms P confronting the person and the person hurrying away. The person was shown loitering at the basement level of the station earlier, and moving towards the escalator to follow Ms P after sighting her.

An investigation officer on the case trawled through CCTV footage from the station and traced the person using his EZ-Link card transaction records.

When the police went to Tan’s home on Jul 1, 2021 to arrest him, they searched for IT gadgets which could be linked to the offence, and seized several devices including a Lenovo laptop and an iPhone.

Thirteen voyeuristic images, including 11 upskirt images of female victims, were found in his devices. Seven of them had been deleted but were restored through forensic extraction.

Tan had no lawyer and defended himself at trial. He said he could not remember what happened that day, due to the passage of time.

He said he had checked and accepted that he had used his EZ-Link card to travel to Orchard MRT Station on that day. 

He said the CCTV footage caught him “presumably loitering” at the station because it was his preferred waiting area for his connecting bus.

Tan said the prosecution had not produced other CCTV footage that would show a more complete picture and that he was not “deliberately loitering”.

He claimed the shops he intended to patronise all turned out to be closed that day, so he ended up just waiting in that area for his bus.

He then said he was shown hurrying up the escalator because he saw on his mobile phone application that his intended connecting bus was about to arrive. 

Tan also said his Lenovo laptop was an old one he last used on Nov 20, 2021. He was unable to explain why voyeuristic images were found in it.

He claimed there was “no physical evidence to show” that he was the subject captured in CCTV footage on the escalator behind Ms P.

He argued that the investigations conducted were inadequate, and that the police and AGC had made various mistakes in other aspects of the case.

He also claimed that he used to work for MOM and was in possession of “sensitive information” which would be embarrassing if released publicly, and that his laptop had to be handled accordingly.

Tan also claimed that he had obsessive compulsive disorder and that he had faced mental challenges as a result of the case being brought against him.

He also claimed that the voyeuristic images could have been downloaded, automatically or otherwise, after the Lenovo laptop was seized and when the police officers handled it.

JUDGE’S FINDINGS

The judge found the prosecution’s evidence to be reliable and largely rejected Tan’s arguments.

He found that Tan was the subject captured in the footage and that elements of the charges against him had been proven.

After being convicted, Tan argued that he should be given mandatory treatment. He said he had suffered mentally and financially as a result of the case, which had taken a long time.

The judge said there was an “utter lack” of evidence to even suggest Tan was labouring under any legitimately recognised psychiatric condition that might have contributed to his offending behaviour.

Tan had offered nothing in mitigation about his circumstances to explain why he committed the offence and why leniency should be shown to him, the judge added.

“In fact, he has done the opposite. He pleads for the most lenient sentence possible whilst continuing to take no responsibility for his actions and whilst showing absolutely no remorse,” he added.

“The entire conduct of his defence consisted of pushing blame everywhere else and inviting the court to focus on anywhere except the inconveniently incriminating evidence against him.”

Tan was sentenced to eight weeks’ jail and allowed to remain on bail while considering his options.

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