SINGAPORE, April 23 — National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduate Nicholas Lim, who filmed a female student while she was taking a shower last year, was given a 12-month conditional warning as he was assessed to have a “high likelihood of rehabilitation and was remorseful”, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF) in a statement today.
The police also refuted allegations that Lim was not prosecuted because he had “influential parents”, pointing out that Lim’s father is a driver in the public transport sector and his mother is a housewife.
There were additional factors relating to Lim’s conduct which were relevant, such as the absence of other obscene materials in any of his devices, added the police.
“A prosecution, with a possible jail sentence, will likely ruin his entire future, with a permanent criminal record,” said the statement.
Taking into account these factors, Lim was given a conditional warning — which means that if he commits any other criminal offence within 12 months, he will be liable to be prosecuted for both this current offence and the subsequent offence. He will then likely face a jail sentence, said the police.
“Our criminal justice system seeks to temper punishment and deterrence with giving offenders a second chance to reform, based on assessment of the relevant factors,” said the SPF.
The police’s approach in this case is “consistent” with the approach taken in other cases, as the SPF stated that there have been a number of similar cases where such conditional warnings were given.
“Where other relevant factors are involved, for example, a prior criminal record, premeditation to evade detection, there will often be a prosecution, it said.
SPF’s statement comes amid public outcry over the warning given to Lim.
The case first came to light after the victim, Monica Baey, a NUS undergraduate, took to social media in recent days to express her anger at the outcome of the case. She had deemed the punishment meted out to the offender as too “light”.
In addition to the 12-month conditional warning by the police, NUS got Lim to write her a letter of apology, suspended him for a semester, barred him from entering halls and residences and made him attend counselling.
Her Instagram posts went viral, causing public backlash against NUS and the authorities that had handled the matter.
“The Police and Attorney-General Chambers (AGC) understand public concerns on ensuring that our laws and enforcement provide sufficient protection for potential victims and sufficient deterrence against would-be offenders. That is the approach that Police and AGC take,” said the police.
No ’influential parents’
On allegations that surfaced online regarding Lim’s “influential parents”, the police stressed that they are “untrue”.
“The Police and Attorney General Chambers (AGC) did not consider his parents’ background. Such factors are irrelevant considerations. It is unfortunate that such untruths have been put out,” it added.
Lim’s parents had given their consent to make information on their occupations public.
The police also said they were aware of comparisons being made between this incident and a 2015 case involving a 23-year-old man who was charged and sentenced to 10 weeks’ jail for filming a woman showering at Republic Polytechnic (RP).
“The facts in that case are quite different,” said the police.
The accused in the RP case had committed multiple criminal trespass offences and taken deliberate action to avoid detection by covering up the CCTVs in the vicinity and covering his face with a towel, said the SPF.
The accused also “did not own up voluntarily but was arrested following Police investigations to track him down”.
In that case, the accused was a former RP student and had committed the offences over a period of four months. As such, the Police, in consultation with the AGC, prosecuted him in court. — TODAY