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Ex-SIA pilot fined S$3,000 for forwarding photo of dead maid to WhatsApp group

SINGAPORE — A former Singapore Airlines (SIA) pilot was fined S$3,000 on Monday (Sept 2), after being convicted last week of forwarding a photograph of a dead domestic helper to a WhatsApp chat group.

Fazli Hisham Mohd Fairuz Shah, 29, was found guilty after claiming trial to two charges under the Official Secrets Act (OSA). If he is unable to pay the fine, he will have to serve two weeks behind bars.

Fazli Hisham Mohd Fairuz Shah, 29, was found guilty after claiming trial to two charges under the Official Secrets Act (OSA). If he is unable to pay the fine, he will have to serve two weeks behind bars.

SINGAPORE — A former Singapore Airlines (SIA) pilot was fined S$3,000 on Monday (Sept 2), after being convicted last week of forwarding a photograph of a dead domestic helper to a WhatsApp chat group. 

Fazli Hisham Mohd Fairuz Shah, 29, had received the photo from his girlfriend, a paramedic, who was at the scene of the death.

The domestic helper, whose identity is protected by a court gag order, had hung herself from a fan on the evening of Feb 1, 2017.

Fazli was found guilty after claiming trial to two charges under the Official Secrets Act (OSA). If he is unable to pay the fine, he will have to serve two weeks behind bars.

WHAT HAPPENED

Fazli’s girlfriend, Nurizzah Afiqah Hussain, worked for private ambulance operator Unistrong Technology, which did outsourced work for the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

At the scene of the domestic helper’s death on Feb 1, 2017, Nurizzah shone a torchlight on the woman while an ambulance driver, Shaik Haziq Fahmi Shaik Nasair Johar, took a photo of the body with his mobile phone. 

After receiving the photo in her group chat that night, Nurizzah forwarded it to Fazli, along with a photo she had taken of an SCDF call sheet stating, "Maid hung herself on the fan".

Fazli sent the two photos to another chat group, which had 31 members made up of his friends and acquaintances.

The two pictures were forwarded to other foreign domestic workers in Singapore and they began circulating on social media after one of the workers posted them on her Facebook account.

Fazli’s lawyer argued on Monday for a smaller fine of no more than S$1,000 per charge under the OSA, saying that he had already been punished with the loss of his job and could not marry his girlfriend. Fazli was an SIA pilot from October 2016 till July 2017.

The lawyer added that Fazli’s involvement was “more removed” and he had forwarded the photo “without much thought”.

For each charge, he could have been jailed for up to two years and fined a maximum of S$2,000. 

‘SMART ENOUGH’ TO KNOW FORWARDING THE PHOTO WAS WRONG

The issue at the heart of the trial was whether Fazli knew he had obtained the photos in contravention of the OSA. District Judge Luke Tan said he was satisfied that Fazli would have known this, or would have reason to believe that the photos were confidential.

The judge said that the claim of ignorance was "unbelievable". He also noted that Fazli had said in a statement that he shared the photos with no vicious intent, and had not denied that he obtained them from his girlfriend.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao also said that Fazli demonstrated his intelligence and articulation on the witness stand. 

As a pilot, “his description of the rigours of his training and what he did during his time at Singapore Airlines makes it clear that he is used to functioning in situations of fatigue and high pressure”, the prosecutor added.

For their involvement in the incident, Shaik was fined S$1,500 last September, while Nurizzah was fined S$3,000 in August last year.

Related topics

court crime photo WhatsApp OSA domestic helper

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