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AGC intends to appeal against verdict in NUS molester case: Shanmugam

SINGAPORE — The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) disagrees with the verdict handed down to 23-year-old student Terence Siow Kai Yuan, who molested a woman at Serangoon MRT Station, and intends to appeal against it, Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam said on Friday (Sept 27).

On the public's reaction to the penalty imposed on undergraduate Terence Siow who molested a woman, Law Minister K Shanmugam (pictured) said that people are entitled to express their views and unhappiness with the verdict.

On the public's reaction to the penalty imposed on undergraduate Terence Siow who molested a woman, Law Minister K Shanmugam (pictured) said that people are entitled to express their views and unhappiness with the verdict.

SINGAPORE — The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) disagrees with the verdict handed down to 23-year-old student Terence Siow Kai Yuan, who molested a woman at Serangoon MRT Station, and intends to appeal against it, Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam said on Friday (Sept 27).

“That is consistent with my views as well,” he wrote in a Facebook post, saying that he was surprised with the verdict, which has sparked debate among the online community.

In response to a query from TODAY, the AGC said that it has filed an appeal to the High Court with respect to the sentence imposed on Siow. "We are unable to comment further as the matter is before the Courts," it added.

On Sept 12 last year, Siow, an undergraduate from the National University of Singapore, had sat next to a 28-year-old woman on the MRT train and touched her thigh twice. She moved to another seat before alighting at Serangoon MRT Station, where he followed her onto an escalator and touched her buttocks over her shorts. She filed a police report and he was arrested a few days later.

He later admitted in a probation report that he had committed similar acts since he enrolled in NUS in 2016. 

District Judge Jasvender Kaur rejected the prosecution’s call for him to be jailed, instead giving him 21 months of supervised probation and 150 hours of community service, saying in her judgement that his offences were “minor intrusions”.

He also has to attend an offence-specific treatment programme and his parents were bonded for S$5,000 to ensure his good behaviour.

Judge Kaur also noted his good academic results, saying he had the “potential to excel in life” and an “extremely strong propensity for reform”.

In his Facebook post, Mr Shanmugam noted that “there has been a fair bit of reaction to the verdict in this case”.

“People are entitled to express their views, unhappiness, with the verdict and their feelings that the punishment is inadequate,” he said.

“I can also understand how the victim and her parents must feel. The father wrote to me. Many of us (speaking for myself as a parent), will feel the same way.”

He added that while people feel strongly about the case, they should avoid casting aspersions personally on judges, who are doing their duty to the best of their abilities.

“We should now let the Appeal Court look at the matter,” he added.

“If, after the appeal is decided, we, as a society, still generally believe that the law should deliver a different outcome, then it is not the Courts’ fault.”

It is then for Parliament to deal with that and change the law, Mr Shanmugam said. 

“And people know — in Singapore, the Government will move, and put legislation before Parliament to consider.”

More than 13,000 people have signed an online petition against the verdict, as of 2pm on Friday.

The petition, which was started on Thursday afternoon, called for signatories to take a stand against “favourable sentences for ‘educated’ sex offenders”.

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