Singapore: Homeless man faces 15 months jail term for sexual assault, theft

Arrested and jailed
Man arrested in Singapore (Representational image) Pixabay

A homeless man was found guilty of committing several offences and was sentenced to 15 months of imprisonment on Tuesday.

The man, Muhammad Nurizam has assaulted a shopkeeper at Tanjong Pagar Plaza and was found masturbating in public in the Tanjong Pagar area. He was also convicted of two counts of theft.

Reports said that during the hearing, the District Judge Mathew Joseph called the 29-year-old accused a colourful character but expressed his sympathy for the man, as he had a medical history of depression and exhibitionist disorder, which is a condition marked by the urge, fantasy, or behaviour of exposing one's genitals to non-consenting people, particularly strangers.

The defence lawyer Melvin Loh told the court that Nurizam had a disturbing childhood, as his mother abandoned him at a young age. Then he started to live with his relatives first, then at homes and shelters. Later when the accused became homeless, he spent almost 10 years living at void decks. A medical report of Nizam showed that his IQ level is quite lower than an average person.

Reports stated that on August 27, 2017 the accused grabbed the chest of a 48-year-old shopkeeper, who works at Tanjong Pagar Plaza. She told police that the accused was standing at the entrance of the shop and was smiling at the victim on the day of the incident.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Marshall Lim said that the unnamed shopkeeper told the accused that her shop is for women so he had to leave but Nurizam ignored her request and sexually harassed her.

The accused accepted that he has stolen from at least two restaurants, located at Tanjong Pagar area. He entered into a Koran food outlet by using the back entrance and started searching employees' belongings on a shelf in the kitchen.

Later restaurant's staff returned after their lunch break found the accused and apprehended him.

Next time, Nurizam entered a pub on July 1 through the back door and started looking into the lockers, where the staff used to keep their belongings. An employee caught the accused immediately and handed him over to the authorities.

Several reports have been filed against him for exposing himself in public. He was also reported to have masturbated in public several times in the area of Tanjong Pagar Plaza.

The Defence lawyer Loh told the court that even though Nurizam was his way of venting frustration, his decisions were very unwise.

While sentencing the judge Mathew said that he can seek for a help to get his life back on track. In addition to it, he mentioned that in this country no one should be living at the void deck and after his release from prison authorities should help the accused, who has no family.

In a similar case, a 39-year-old man, Aldrin Illias, found guilty of molesting at least six schoolgirls aged between 10 and 17, was sentenced to three years of imprisonment, including 10 strokes of the cane on April 6. His lawyer argued that a psychiatrist from the Institute of Mental Health found that the accused has the exhibitionist disorder as well as frotteuristic disorder.

But the prosecution disagreed with the psychiatric issues saying they did not cause him any deprivation of self-control and he knew what he was doing.

This article was first published on April 10, 2018