New sentencing guide for anonymous criminal intimidation cases
Those who intimidate others anonymously and inflict severe harm in the process could find themselves liable to at least three years' jail if they are found to have a high level of culpability.
Such culprits were not subject to any minimum sentences in the past.
This new indicative sentence was laid out by the High Court in a new sentencing guideline for anonymous criminal intimidation cases, following the unsuccessful appeal of a disgruntled insurance agent who called himself "Lord Voldermort" to intimidate and harass clients.
Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon dismissed the appeal of Ye Lin Myint, 36, on July 19, noting his sentence of two years and five months' jail by a district judge was "on the low side" and not "manifestly excessive", as Ye Lin Myint's lawyers had contended. He had earlier pleaded guilty to 13 charges of criminal intimidation and harassment.
In judgment grounds issued yesterday, Chief Justice Menon said there is a dearth of authorities dealing with cases of criminal intimidation involving anonymous communication.
"This calls for sentencing guidelines from the High Court to assist lower courts in sentencing such offences consistently," he said.
He laid out a new sentencing framework, which involves taking into account factors relating to culpability of the culprit and harm caused. There are nine sentencing ranges.
Applying this new sentencing framework to Ye Lin Myint's case, Chief Justice Menon found his aggregate sentence should have been around 34 months' jail. Factors against him included the fact that Ye Lin Myint was "motivated by malice and greed".
As the prosecution did not appeal against the sentence, the Chief Justice said he decided not to order a higher sentence and dismissed the appeal.