Men sexually acted on victims in 2005 and 2007.

The boys were 14 to 15 years old at the time of the crime.

However, when he returned to Singapore in March to renew his missionary visa, his crime was reported only last year. The victim is now an adult in his late twenties.

Therefore, the questions in this recent case are: Why is the Gag Order imposed when the victim is now an adult? And is this still to protect the victims, or is it a particular Catholic order?

So is it timely to rethink the guiding principles of the gag order to balance the open judicial system and the public interest in protecting sexual predators?

Recent incidents in question

A celebrity in the local Catholic community was sentenced to five years in prison for sexual crimes against two teenage boys. A Singaporean man who is a member of the Catholic Church has never been married with a bachelor’s vow. However, according to court documents, he is not a priest.

The man pleaded guilty to lustful sexual intercourse against the natural order and to obscene acts with young people.

It was in 2009 that the first victims confessed to Singapore’s Catholic Order sector leaders were emotionally and socially distressed and felt “sick” of the sexual activity committed by criminals. .. But he refused to escalate the problem.

The criminal was questioned by his religious boss about the allegations and went to the United States for a six-month treatment program at the institute in the same year before he posted to another country where his work did not include minors. It was sent.

He returned to renew his missionary visa in 2020, his history was focused on the board of schools to which he was linked, and after an internal investigation, the school board chairman police in March. I submitted the report of. 2021.

The man was arrested in January 2022.

During the proceedings, the victim’s identity is protected by a gag order. The accused also cannot be named because of his name, designation, appointment, and gag order prohibiting the publication of the school to which he was linked.

His lawyer said the two victims were adults currently working with his family when he sought to shorten his sentence. He said they were “advancing” and “doing well” in their lives, but there was no evidence to suggest that they were “hurt” by the experience.

As the lawyer said, the two victims are now working adults. If so, why is it a gag order? This inadvertently protects the perpetrator of this crime.

What is a gag order and how does it apply?

According to Dr. Eugene Tan, an associate professor at Singapore Management University (SMU), the Gag Order is issued by the court on its own initiative or upon successful application by the parties to the proceedings. These are primarily intended to protect victims of crime and are most commonly used.

Once imposed, journalists and the general public cannot share information or photos that identify the person nominated in the order. Violations of this will result in imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to S $ 5,000, or both. This also applies to anyone who shares a post in violation of the Gag Order.

Even a lawyer is inevitable.

Veteran criminal lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam was charged on April 22 with two charges of violating the Gag Order for a doctor who was later acquitted of sexual abuse. Thuraisingam’s team defended the doctor in this case.

According to the indictment, Mr. Thuraisingam was charged with two charges of disclosing the proceedings’ records containing unedited information that could lead to the identification of the plaintiff. He is said to have done so by instructing his fellow Johannes Hadi to distribute these copies to the press in March and August 2021.

In such cases, the accused’s identity may also be anonymous to prevent anyone from identifying the victim. The court’s intention here is not to protect criminals. And since the Gag Order undermines open justice, they should be issued with caution and should not cover more than “necessary to serve the purpose of justice.”

Dr. Tan states that the Gag Order is sensitive to facts. That is, “every case, party and victim’s unique situation is involved in court decision-making. Obvious discrepancies are often due to differences between one case and another.”

“Victims are entitled to privacy and welfare protection even if the crime was committed more than 10 years ago. Without the Gag Order, whether the victim is willing to go forward and report the crime. There are public interest concerns, “he says.

Both Dr Tan and Ms Gloria James-Civetta, chief attorneys for Gloria James-Civetta and Co, state that victims may “cannot underestimate taunts, ridicule, and prejudice.”

Ms. James Sibetta said that for some purposes of the Gag Order, witnesses and victims “minimize re-damage by protecting them from public surveillance and avoiding further trauma of public surveillance that victims do not want. It also includes encouraging testimony “by curbing.”

“Note that even if the person is a victim and not a accused, revealing their identities to the public can lead to social stigma, such as comments on victims of sexual assault or blame for the victims. It’s important to do, “she says.

Partial cancellation of the Gag Order is not allowed

Nevertheless, the Catholic Church also called for the partial lifting of the gag order in recent sexual abuse cases in order to identify the criminal.

In a statement to the media on June 5, Singapore’s Roman Catholic Archdiocese said it had requested the Prosecutor’s Office (AGC) to partially lift the Gag Order, so the criminal’s identity and religious order , And details of the criminal can inform you of subsequent treatment and posting.

“The AGC informed us that they had carefully considered our request but could not meet it,” said the Catholic Church.

In a statement to the mainstream media the following day, June 6, AGC made all requests to lift the Gag Order because the victim’s interests were a top priority and in this case could not meet the request. He said he would consider it carefully.

He applied for a gag order to protect the victim’s identity, but said he was never required to protect the interests of the accused or the Catholic sect involved.

“Gag order covered the accused’s identity because the identification of the accused is likely to lead to the identification of the victim, based on the facts and circumstances of the case,” AGC said.

So what are the principles of managing gag orders?

According to the law, the Gag Order may be a statutory restriction or a restriction on publication by court order. The statutory restrictions include a section of the Children and Young Persons Act (CYPA), 1993. Section 153 (4) of the Women’s Charter protects women and girls who are alleged victims of certain serious sexual crimes. Section 425A of the Code of Criminal Procedure 2010 protects alleged claimants or victims of sexual or child abuse crimes.

Only two sets of three similar cases, named parents

Under the limits of court orders, the court has broad discretionary power to issue gag orders regarding the identities of witnesses.

In the famous Chinswee Road murder in 2019, a gag order was imposed on the names of couples accused of murdering their two-year-old daughter in 2014. Police ask for help at Block 52 Chin Swee Road for her body.

The AGC subsequently stated that the order restricted the disclosure of names, addresses, photographs, evidence, or anything else that could lead to the identification of the victim or accused.

But in 2020, the High Court overturned a gag order imposed in another case involving a father who killed his two-year-old daughter while suffering from depression. This rare move came after the prosecution called for the gag order, which was mistakenly imposed by a justice of the peace in June of that year, to be lifted because the victim died.

John Boy’s John Theo killed his daughter Ashley Claire in June 2019. He was divorcing his ex-wife and was suffering from major depressive disorder.

So how are the two cases different?

Both girls are dead.

And if the gag order imposed on the Chinswee case was to protect the younger brothers of the dead girl, what about the other cases attempted in the same year?

In 2019, a young couple was tried three years ago for murdering their five-year-old son. Before dying from severe burns and a blunt trauma to his head, the boy was pinched with pliers, burned with a heated spoon and trapped in a cat cage.

The couple was named, despite having other children.

The boy’s parents, Azulin Arjuna and Lizuan Mega Abdul Rahman, had several other children who lived in a one-room rental apartment with some of them. They were acquitted of murder, convicted of less, and sentenced to 27 years each for terrible abuse. The prosecution, on the other hand, is attractive.

So what are the principles governing gag orders? Why are gag orders different for each case?

Ms. James-Civetta states that the imposition of the Gag Order is discretionary.

“The courts may seem inconsistent, but it’s true that courts evaluate each application on a case-by-case basis and only gag orders are imposed when necessary,” she says. ..

“Even if a gag order is imposed, the scope of the gag order must be determined individually by the court, keeping in mind that it must be sufficient to protect victims and witnesses. This is a different case. That’s why the range of gag orders can be different when comparing, “she adds.

Still, perhaps the court needs to revisit the principles governing the Gag Order so that the public understands the decisions behind these orders issued and does not believe they were made to protect the victims. there is.

This article was first published on

Source link

Previous articleEmirates News Agency-Dubai records 6.7 billion AED worth of real estate transactions on Friday
Next articleRefugees say they weren’t taken care of because the Red Cross removed the Tel Apel tent