The Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam said on Friday, September 27 that the molestation case outcome has "surprised" the minister after a university student was given probation as the court rejected the prosecution's appeal for a custodial sentence.
The 60-year-old minister took it to the social media where he posted that "There has been a fair bit of reaction to the verdict in this case. Terence Siow who molested a woman at Serangoon MRT was sentenced to probation."
In the post, he revealed that the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) disagreed with the verdict and intend to appeal. Later reports revealed that AGC has filed an appeal against the sentence.
The accused, who is a student at National University of Singapore (NUS), Terence Siow Kai Yuan was given 21 months of supervised probation. He pleaded guilty on Wednesday, September 25 to one charge of outraging the modesty of a 28-year-old woman and two similar charges were also taken into consideration.
During the hearing, District Judge Jasvender Kaur described Siow's offences as "minor intrusions" and noted that the probation report had found the NUS student suitable for probation as Siow's academic results show he has the "potential to excel in life".
In the post, Shanmugam wrote, "People are entitled to express their views, unhappiness, with the verdict, and their feelings that the punishment is inadequate.
"I can also understand how the victim and her parents must feel. The father wrote to me. Many of us (speaking for myself as a parent), will feel the same way.
"I was surprised, myself, with the verdict."
He also mentioned that he asked AGC for their view in this case and officers told him that they also disagreed with the outcome and will appeal which is "consistent with my views as well."
The Singapore minister has asked people to avoid casting aspersions on the judges, saying that they were doing their duties. In addition, he mentioned that the public should let the Appeal Court look into the matter.
Serangoon MRT molestation case:
The incident happened on November 12, 2018, Siow was travelling on the North-East Line towards Punggol MRT Station. The accused sate next to the victim who was also travelling on the same date and touched her right thigh. The woman shifted away and crossed her legs, but even after that Siow touched her inappropriately.
She gets down at Serangoon MRT and Siow also alighted at the same station. When the victim was on an escalator, the accused touched her buttocks. Then the woman shouted and informed the security who then notified the police.
As per The New Paper, an NUS spokesman said that the student of the university faced disciplinary sanctions, including the suspension of candidature and mandatory counselling, at a Board of Discipline hearing on 2018 October.
The spokesman also added that disciplinary sanctions will form part of the student's formal educational record at the university.