Man who filmed upskirt videos of classmate caught while viewing footage on train

Wan Ting Koh
·Senior Reporter
·4-min read
Yahoo file photo
Yahoo file photo

SINGAPORE — While having a discussion with his course mates, a student decided to take upskirt videos of a female classmate under the table.

Royston Kesavan, 40, took multiple videos in half an hour until he was satisfied with the angle of the footage.

Kesavan, who is pursuing a master’s degree in health administration at Parkway College of Nursing and Allied Health, was caught by an officer on transport security duty as he was reviewing the obscene videos while on an MRT train.

The married man was jailed for six weeks on Wednesday (10 March) after he pleaded guilty to one count of insulting the modesty of the victim while in a meeting room at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) on 26 September 2019. The victim cannot be named due to a gag order to protect her identity.

His lawyer, V Ramesh, had sought a probation term but was rejected by District Judge Adam Nakhoda, who said the community-based sentence was inappropriate in Kesavan’s case.

On 26 September 2019, at around 6.20pm, Kesavan met his course mates for a discussion at a meeting room in SGH. He sat across the table from the victim.

Midway through the discussion, Kesavan decided to record upskirt videos of the victim, who was the only one dressed in a skirt, Deputy Public Prosecutor Phoebe Tan told the court. He discreetly angled his mobile phone camera lens at her from under the table. While viewing the film, he found his angle unsatisfactory as he could only capture the victim’s knees and calves. This video lasted two seconds.

Dissatisfied with the result, Kesavan repeatedly filmed the victim in this manner, adjusting his angle or zooming to the woman’s groin and obtained seven such videos, each one lasting a longer duration.

At one point, the victim swivelled her chair and obscured Kesavan’s lens and the man repositioned his phone.

Kesavan only managed to capture a clear view of victim’s inner thighs on the seventh time he filmed the victim. Satisfied, he stopped recording about half an hour later.

As he was heading home that night, he reviewed the footage on an MRT train and was spotted by a Public Transport Security Command officer on duty, who asked him to step out of the train.

While Kesavan was initially reluctant to hand over his phone, he eventually did so. The seven videos were found in his “deleted” folder. The officer detained Kesavan and called the police.

DPP Tan told the court that Kesavan displayed a level of persistence and became increasingly emboldened with each attempt.

Ramesh urged the court to call for a pre-sentencing probation report at his client’s instructions, stating, “There is no doubt he is an adult, and much older than 21, and more receptive as he is mature and able to understand the responsibilities he has to take on.”

Probation is a rehabilitative sentence usually given to offenders below the age of 21 and will not result in a criminal record. The court may also order probation for offenders above 21 in exceptional circumstances.

As part of his argument for probation, Ramesh pointed out that his client had no medical condition that would make him more likely to reoffend. However, DJ Nakhoda said that the lawyer was “turning things on their head” as normally one would look at a psychiatric disorder suffered by an offender, then consider follow-up treatment to show that the offender had a propensity towards rehabilitation.

“In this case, the accused has no other factor that led him to commit these offences. Stress is certainly not a reason that the court will accept for someone committing offences of this nature,” the judge added.

Ramesh then said that there was no breach of trust as Kesavan was only a course mate, and that the group had only met for the third time to study. He asked for a fine if the court would not call for a probation report.

Ramesh added that Kesavan was reviewing the videos with the intention of deleting them. But DJ Nakhoda noted that Kesavan could have deleted the videos without reviewing them.

The judge added that a jail term was warranted. “The point that needs to be emphasised is the persistence in this case was quite extreme. The accused…changed the angle of how he was holding his phone, zoomed in and took longer and longer videos and was certainly goal-oriented,” he said.

For insulting the modesty of a woman, the man could have been jailed up to a year, and/or fined.

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