On Wednesday (8 April), a 29-year-old policeman who pleaded guilty for molesting his female colleague was given a fine of S$9,000.
It was reported that the man, who is married with two kids aged two and five, conducted this heinous act on his now 27-year-old working partner thrice while on duty in 2016 and 2017.
On one of the occasions, the Staff Sergeant was said to suddenly place his left hand on the victim’s right thigh while they were having a conversation on patrol duty in a police car. The woman, who hold the lower rank of Sergeant 2, quickly moved her leg away and place a clipboard on her right thigh.
The second time the same incident happened again was when the duo were at the counter of a neighbourhood police centre. At this occasion, the accused lightly kept his hands over hers before sliding it down to take an item that she wanted to pass to him.
As for the last time when the molestation took place, the victim felt a push on her left buttock when she walked past the man while they were doing anti-crime patrolling on foot in a housing estate. It was said that the accused stopped and waited for the victim to catch up when the violation happened.
Although the woman was shocked over his act, but she did not confront him. Instead she walked faster to catch up with the other two officers who were also patrolling together with them.
However, she decided to report his shameful act on 17 April 2018. She told it to a police deputy superintendent who was attached to the Home Team School of Criminal Investigation after attending his lecture.
When she was asked by the 53-year-old deputy superintendent on why she did not make a police report earlier, she told that she was confused and worried about what will happen if she lodges a report.
Following this, the deputy superintendent submitted an electronic police report on the very same day.
The offender has been suspended from duty, and he along with the victim cannot be named due to a gag order to safeguard the woman’s identity.
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) told TODAY that the male officer was suspended from duty on 26 December 2018.
“Officers of the SPF are expected to uphold the law, and maintain the highest standards of conduct and integrity. We deal severely with officers who break the law, including charging them in court,” it said.
Initially, the accused voiced his intention to contest the three molestation charges, but he decided to not do so on Monday when the victim was said to become the first witness to testify against him.
If that’s not all, the court also heard on Wednesday that the accused was not in a relationship with the victim.
Asked for more lenient sentence
The accused’s lawyer, Mr T M Sinnadurai had stated that his client’s actions were due to a moment of folly, and requested the court to give him a more lenient sentence.
“The accused admits that his actions were due to a moment of folly. This is a scar that will remain with him for the rest of his life,” the lawyer said.
He added that the accused’s actions were “fleeting”, and he did not grab the victim’s thigh, buttocks or hands.
In the mitigation plea, Mr Sinnadurai penned that everyone who knew his client only said positive things about him, and their testimonials showed that he was a “mild-mannered, responsible and disciplined person”.
However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Gregory Gan debated that this is a case of workplace sexual harassment, and the sentence given should show that such offences cannot be tolerated.
Additionally, the prosecution also stated that the accused’s actions show persistence as he molested his victim on three different instances.
Upon reading this news, many netizens voiced their dissatisfaction over the sentence given to the accused. Writing their thoughts in the Facebook page of TODAY, they said that a fine of S$9,000 is too light for the offence, especially for a law enforcer who is supposed to protect the people. They added that something is wrong with the country’s system as a policeman was given such a light punishment, while the regular public tend to get a harsher punishment.
Terrence Long said that how is the public going to trust the police if the “punishment is just a paltry $9000”.
As such, other online users called for a heavier penalty to be imposed on the accused. They said that the man should also be given a jail term, or at least be caned.