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For a long time, certain gag orders have benefitted not only the victims, but the aggressors as well. Though it sounds ironic, it’s only through the gagging of the accused’s identity that the victim can truly be protected.

Much to the chagrin of the lawmakers, I’m sure.

But it seems that in an unconventional case, the victims have pushed to lift a gag order notwithstanding their vulnerability.

And the reason for doing so? To oust a serial voyeur for who he really is.

Voyeur from Top UK University to be Named After 11 Victims Pushed to Lift Gag Order

But before we continue, allow me to convey the tale of 23-year-old Colin Chua Yi Jin.

Though unfortunately, it’s no heroic one.

From 2014 to 2015, when he was in junior college in Singapore; from 2016 to 2018, when he was serving his National Service; from 2018 October, when he was at a prestigious university over in the United Kingdom. Though different in stature, these three time periods share one particular common occurrence:

Voyeurism.

Apart from upskirt videos, Chua would also video his victims in the shower.

Some of these videos would eventually end up on the Internet; a few have even gone viral.

Apparently, Chua’s modus operandis is to invite female acquaintances over to specific places. Before their arrival, he would’ve already installed a camera in the toilet.

In total, Chong has filmed “maybe three digit” worth of videos. He accredited the offences to school or work-induced stress, and stated that it “was an addiction” to him.

Needless to say; he was eventually caught and hauled before the law. He eventually pleaded guilty in July 2021 to seven charges of insulting the modesty of women, as well as an eighth charge of possessing obscene films.

To protect the victims’ interest, however, his identity was scheduled to be gagged.

No Longer

As you may have noticed, his name is now out in the open.

That’s largely due to the victims’ wish to oust his identity, despite a breach of their usual rights.

The unconventional move was made to alert other possible victims about Chua’s antics.

The journey to name him, however, was said to be a long one.

At Chua’s guilty plea hearing, the prosecution and defence failed to agree on a common consensus.

Eventually, the district judge in charge of the lower court ruled in favour of the prosecution: to name Chua.

In spite of the decision, the defence refused to give up. They sought a stay of the order and applied to the High Court regarding the decision made.

High Court

To dissuade the decision, the defence argued that there’s actually a 12th victim who has yet to make her stand known.

As such, the victims have not actually made a unanimous vote.

While the Chief Justice acknowledged the notion, he stated that the 12th victim was not a witness, and as such was not deemed relevant to the proceedings.

“Whose interests are we protecting?” Chief Justice Menon said.

“We all know the reason we have to make a gag order,” he said. “It’s a detraction from the principles of open justice … there is, in a sense, another interest, which is the protection of victims.”

“Why are we keen to protect victims? Because we don’t want to make their punishment worse … we don’t want to discourage them from making reports against offenders. We don’t want to make them afraid of invoking the … processes of the law,” said the Chief Justice.

“Where the victims have come forward to say – actually, I am feeling guilty because I may not have been able to help other victims because of the gag order, and I have introduced these other victims to the offender, and I am suffering because I feel I am complicit in this by having to stay quiet, how can we logically extend the gag order in this case?” he asked defence lawyer Mr Murugaiyan.

“When really, the person who’s asking for the gag order is your client, because he wants to take advantage of the protection that the gag order affords him,” said the Chief Justice.

“That is not the purpose of the gag order. The gag order has nothing to do with the benefit of the accused person. It is entirely driven by the protection of the victims.”

He also reiterated the victims’ intentions, despite the risk that’s going against them.

“They accept that risk, but they also want to purge the guilt and fear they had that others have suffered and may still be suffering – because of the gag order, they may not even be aware of what’s going on. When you look at that perspective, it’s very difficult to see how your client can even raise this application.”

Chief Justice Menon eventually dismissed the defence’s application, and concurred with the prosecution’s request: that Chua pay costs of S$2,000 for making a “self-serving” and “borderline frivolous” application.

The Chief Justice stated that Chua was “seeking only his own benefit.”

“A gag order has nothing to do with the benefit of accused persons,” he said.

As of current moment, Chua has yet to be sentenced. His next hearing will be in October, though it’s said that he will not be suitable for probation.

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