SINGAPORE – The gag order that concealed the identity of an undergraduate student convicted of illegally filming 12 women was lifted on Friday, September 24 by a ruling by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.
Colin Chua Yi Jin, 23, first saw his name mentioned during his criminal petition in the High Court, with CJ Menon noting that the gag orders were never for the benefit or benefit of the defendants .
In Chua’s case, all 11 identified victims, aged between 20 and 23, were unanimous in their call for the removal of the gag order on his name. The last victim being unknown, she could not give her consent. The gag order was originally issued in Chua’s name because there was a risk that the victims, all known to Chua, could be identified through him.
Currently, the gag order remains on the names of the victims, their relationship with Chua and the location of the offenses, including the British University of Chua.
The prosecution first requested the lifting of the gag order during Chua’s hearing on July 29 when he pleaded guilty. He then told the court that the victims believed the gag order was “more damaging than helpful,” and all had accepted the increased possibility of being identified.
Some victims have declared themselves guilty of preventing them from helping other potential victims.
The district judge agreed with the prosecution and ordered that the gag order only cover the names and information of the victims, prompting Chua to appeal the decision to the High Court.
Not for the benefit of the accused
The defense, represented by lawyer Kalidass Murugaiyan, opposed the lifting of the gag order, noting that the prosecution had previously unsuccessfully tried to lift the gag order and that the victim’s statements could not be used for such a request. The defense also pointed out that the last victim had not given his express consent.
Kalidass also noted that removing the defendant’s name gag order could deter potential victims from coming forward.
But CJ Menon noted that this would suggest that Chua’s request was “altruistic for the benefit” of others when in truth, Chua wanted the gag order to be maintained for his own benefit.
Chief Justice Menon noted that the gag orders were a “violation of the principle of open justice” and that the court had the power to impose the gag order in order to protect victims and encourage them to come forward.
Noting the feelings expressed by the victims, CJ Menon said: “How can we logically extend the gag order in this case, when the person asking for a gag order is your client because he wants to take advantage of the gag order. protection that the gag order offers him? That is not the purpose of the gag order. ”
He stressed: “He may not want his identity disclosed, but it is absolutely not a relevant factor.”
Deputy Prosecutor Nicholas Khoo also called the present request “selfish” and “borderline frivolous.”
DPP Khoo said the defense denigrated the investigator and the victims’ willingness to come forward when the allegations were unfounded. The prosecutor requested costs of $ 2,000 against the defense, which JC Menon awarded.
Chua’s offenses occurred between 2015 and 2019. He filmed an 18-year-old woman in the shower after their college prom when the group of friends gathered in a hotel room. .
In early 2016, JC’s manager informed the woman that a video of her shower was circulating on pornographic sites. She filed a police report and detailed her ordeal in a victim impact statement.
Among his other offenses was recording a 19-year-old victim in the toilet at Chua’s residence while defecating. He had invited her there for a Christmas gathering on December 20, 2016. Her video also ended up on a porn site.
Chua filmed another 20-year-old woman in a similar fashion when she visited her residence in 2018. He set up a recording device under the sink to capture her urinating. He filmed two other women in his home’s toilet during another Christmas gathering in 2018.
Another victim, 21, visited him at his university in the UK, after he offered to show her around his university. The woman used her toilet during the visit and Chua filmed her relieving herself.
Chua, who was found unfit for probation earlier this week, has not been sentenced. He will then appear at a pre-hearing conference on October 18.
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