Probation for NUS molester delayed pending appeal against sentence
A district court on Friday ordered a stay of the probation sentence given to molester Terence Siow Kai Yuan following the appeal filed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), last week.
Siow, a National University of Singapore (NUS) student, was given 21 months’ supervised probation for molesting a woman twice on a train and once at Serangoon MRT station in September last year.
There was public outrage after The New Paper first reported on the verdict last Thursday, with many perceiving the sentence to be too lenient.
Much ire had been directed at District Judge Jasvender Kaur who had said Siow’s academic results showed he had the potential to excel in life, and hence was suitable for probation.
The story, which went viral, sparked an online petition titled “Say NO to Favorable Sentences for ‘Educated’ Sex Offenders”.
It has garnered more than 75,000 signatures.
Politicians also commented on the story, with Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam saying on Facebook last Friday that AGC officers disagreed with Judge Kaur’s verdict.
The prosecution had sought six weeks’ jail for Siow.
At a post-sentence hearing today, Deputy Public Prosecutor Gail Wong said a stay of Siow’s probation order was so the prosecution’s appeal against the sentence would not be prejudiced.
The Applied Mathematics undergraduate, 23, was convicted on one count of molest with two other similar charges taken into consideration.
Under the terms of probation, he was to remain indoors from 11pm to 6am, perform 150 hours of community service and attend an offence specific treatment programme.
Siow’s parents were also bonded $5,000 to ensure his good behaviour during the probation period.
Citing the nature and gravity of Siow’s offence, DPP Wong said there was public interest in not curtailing the appellate court.
“It remains the prosecution’s position that in this present case, the offence is a serious one involving sexual contact,” she told Judge Kaur, who cut her off, saying: “We have been through that.”
Defence counsel Raphael Louis disagreed that the appellate court’s hands would be tied and asked Judge Kaur to allow Siow to continue with the rehabilitative process.
Said the lawyer: “He is in touch with the probation officer. He needs help, he wants to change, but he cannot change by himself.”
TNP reported previously that Siow was getting help at NUS to manage his sexual urges, and was expected to be back in school.
In Siow’s probation report, he admitted he had been molesting others since he enrolled in NUS in 2016.
Mr Shanmugam urged the public to let the Appeal Court look into Siow’s case, and in his Facebook post last Friday, warned against casting aspersions on Judge Kaur.