SINGAPORE — A man took an upskirt video of a female subordinate while at lunch with her, and was spotted by a member of the public.
Yet the 41-year-old victim trusted her manager, and did not want to call the police as she believed he had done it accidentally.
It was not the first time the 43-year-old man had taken upskirt videos, however. He even went to the extent of hiding his mobile phone in the rubbish bin beside his seat in his office to film the victim illicitly.
The man, a trade manager, was jailed for 12 weeks on Thursday (24 June) on two counts of voyeurism which he pleaded guilty to.
He was the victim’s male manager and would sign off on some of the documents that the victim presented to him. The victim, who cannot be named due to a court-imposed gag order, works as an accounts executive.
Record upskirt images on multiple occasions
Between June and July last year, the man intentionally recorded multiple images and recordings of the victim’s underwear and buttocks with his phone without her knowledge.
The six occasions occurred around the Bukit Purmei area, where the two had their lunch. She would usually go for lunch with the man, as they spoke the same language and she could relate better to him.
On 8 July last year, at around 1pm, the two had their lunch at the usual area and were heading back to office when a member of the public shouted at the man.
The member of the public had spotted the man taking an upskirt video of the victim. However, the victim did not want to call the police as she trusted the man and thought he was not the kind of man to take upskirt videos of her.
She asked the man to show his phone. The man showed the victim his phone and lied that he had accidentally turned the camera mode on. The victim accepted his explanation as she had accidentally turned her camera on occasions as well.
The man deleted the video, but the woman noticed that he was shivering. She confided in her friend about this incident and was advised to lodge a police report. The victim did so and the man was arrested on the same day.
Victim felt guilty of calling the police
Despite calling the police, the victim felt guilty and was unable to sleep that night. She thought the man did not intentionally film her, and did not wish to break his family up.
“The victim even went to the extent of asking her own husband to take upskirt videos of her in order to see if it is possible that the accused might not have intended to take upskirt videos of the victim and to check if it is physically possible for the accused to have captured her panties,” the prosecution told the court.
The man admitted to the police that he had taken upskirt videos of the victim and other women. He said he felt the urge to do so when he saw that the victims were dressed “skimpily”.
A total of 11 videos were taken between June and July last year. For one of these incidents, the man placed his mobile phone in the rubbish bin beside his seat in his office as he knew that the victim was coming to his office room for a work discussion.
The other incidents took place in various locations such as inside MRT trains while the victims - dressed in dresses or skirts - were sitting directly in front of him.
Committed offences 'due to stress'
Mitigating in person, the man asked for a lighter sentence. He said he committed the offences due to stress, and was triggered when he chanced upon similar videos circulating on Telegram.
The period of his offences were during Phase 1 of Singapore’s reopening last year, when the man’s boss had demanded that his employees return to office to work due to bad business, according to the man.
“I started to have thoughts but that should (not) be an excuse for me to commit such crimes,” he said.
“I never tried to hide anything and I showed (my) phone to (the victim and) she was aware the video was taken of her. I showed to her and I deleted all the videos in front of her, I know my action is unforgivable.
“I am not trying to hide or anything or trying to fight for my stance, but I feel I should get a punishment and I hope to plead for my leniency cause I have never done anything like that before in my life."
Magistrate Hairul Hakkim noted that the man had targeted a junior colleague that trusted him to the extent that she simulated his crimes to see if she had maligned him.
For voyeurism, the man could have been jailed up to two years, or fined, or caned, or any combination of the punishments.
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