SINGAPORE — Feeling “stumped and confused” about the state of his marriage, a man ended up using a pinhole camera to film his wife and her sister in the toilet of the flat that they shared, said his defence lawyer.
The 36-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty to three out of four counts of insulting a woman’s modesty on Thursday (27 June).
The man cannot be named to protect the victims’ identity. According to The New Paper, he was an officer with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) at the time but has since resigned.
In April last year, the man pasted a cube-shaped pinhole camera to the water heater in the common toilet of the family flat.
After recording his wife and sister-in-law in the toilet, the man would retrieve the recordings and transfer the videos to his hard disk before putting the camera back in place.
From time to time, he would also place the same camera on top of the mirror panel in the master bedroom toilet of the flat.
On 26 April 2018, the wife discovered videos of her sister showering on her husband's hard disk. She told her brother-in-law.
At about 9pm, after the man returned from work, he entered and exited the common toilet within five minutes. The brother-in-law then went into the toilet and found the pinhole camera stuck to the top of the water heater.
The sister-in-law returned home about an hour later and learned that she had been caught showering on camera. She cried from the trauma, according to Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Yung Lin.
The sister-in-law lodged a police report the next day and police officers who visited the flat seized devices belonging to the man.
His hard disks and handphone contained multiple videos of both his wife and his sister-in-law showering or relieving themselves.
Wife shut me out: Accused
The prosecution sought 20 weeks jail for the man, while his lawyer, Joel Heng, asked for less than 12 weeks’ jail.
Addressing the court, the man said that while the couple was close, the woman grew distant after her maternity leave and he did not know why.
“I thought everything was fine, I confided in her but realised she was not willing to open to me in conversation.”
His wife’s family advised him to move to the guest room so that his wife could rest at night. He eventually realised that his wife would confide in her family instead of him.
He felt that he was being “left out of the equation” and was not able to “cope with the imbalance”.
He added that he had not been intimate with his wife for close to five years .
On the offence, the man said, “On this fateful night I cannot exert control on myself and took a recording of her, unfortunately I complicated my sister-in-law as well.”
Heng told the court that there was a “strong emotional factor” involved in view of the relationship breakdown.
“He was stumped and confused at the direction for which the marriage was going,” said Heng.
Asked by District Judge (DJ) Adam Nakhoda how taking compromising videos of his wife was meant to address the issue, Heng said that his client had wanted to see if any emotional attachment still existed.
“His spouse was very reserved around him and made him feel like they were both strangers.”
In response, the DJ said that he had trouble seeing how what the man did would help resolve their marital issues. When he asked why the man had also filmed his sister-in-law, Heng replied, “Unfortunately, he captured his sister-in-law. Since the incident, he has been attending counselling to address the issue.”
The man is expected to be sentenced on 8 July.
For each count of insulting the modesty of a woman, he can be punished up to one year and/or fined.
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