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Jail, fine for NUS student who filmed female hostel residents showering after Monica Baey case

SINGAPORE — Despite knowing of similar voyeurism cases on campus, an architecture student from the National University of Singapore (NUS) took videos of four female students showering in the women’s toilets of a residential hall.

Joel Rasis Ismail leaving the State Courts in October 2019.

Joel Rasis Ismail leaving the State Courts in October 2019.

Singapore

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  • Joel Rasis Ismail first took upskirt videos of his internship colleagues in 2016
  • He re-offended in March and May 2019
  • A district judge rejected his lawyer’s argument for community-based sentences

 

SINGAPORE — Despite knowing of similar voyeurism cases on campus, an architecture student from the National University of Singapore (NUS) took videos of four female students showering in the women’s toilets of a residential hall.

Before that, Joel Rasis Ismail had also filmed up the skirts of his female colleagues while on an internship.

For his crimes, the 27-year-old Singaporean was sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail and fined S$1,500 on Tuesday (Oct 20).

He had pleaded guilty last month to four charges of insulting a woman’s modesty and criminal trespass, with another seven similar charges considered for sentencing.

At the time of his offences, Joel stayed at NUS’ Raffles Hall. He is now a fifth-year undergraduate.

All of his victims cannot be named due to court orders to protect their identities.

In June last year, a board of discipline convened by the university imposed a range of disciplinary sanctions on Joel. These include a three-semester suspension, mandatory counselling and rehabilitation sessions.

He is now not allowed on campus and the sanctions will be part of his formal education record.

NO GO FOR COMMUNITY-BASED SENTENCES

District Judge Adam Nakhoda noted that Joel was aware of the public disquiet that arose from a peeping Tom incident involving fellow NUS undergraduate student, Ms Monica Baey.

The case made headlines and sparked public debate in March last year, after Ms Baey took to Instagram to talk about being filmed showering in another NUS hall in 2018.

This led to reforms in how NUS handles campus voyeurism cases. Since June last year, students can be expelled over the offences, and the university opened a Victim Care Unit a few months later to support students experiencing sexual misconduct.

Joel filmed his fellow students in March and May last year. He changed clothes to avoid detection, but he ended up still being caught with the help of closed-circuit television camera footage.

The judge accepted that he was remorseful and now has his family’s support, but rejected his lawyer Malcolm Tan’s argument for community-based sentences.

Joel was not suffering from any psychiatric disorder at the time. He had committed the 2019 offences to “elevate his low libidinal urges” and was “purposeful and deliberate in his actions”, District Judge Nakhoda said.

Joel’s victims were entitled to feel safe showering in a women’s toilet on a women-only floor, but he breached their privacy with his actions, the judge added.

WHAT HE DID

The court heard that Joel first struck in June 2016.

While his female colleague was speaking to someone else in their office, he took two videos by placing his mobile phone on a chair before holding it below her skirt.

He was not caught at the time.

In March last year, he was visiting a female friend who stayed on a “females only” floor at the Kuok Foundation House, which was located within the Raffles Hall where Joel stayed.

Joel visited the floor even though men were banned from entering.

When he went to a women’s toilet to relieve himself, he heard someone showering and decided to film her.

He did the same to another victim, leaving the toilet undetected.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Andre Ong said that he kept the video clip for a few days, rewatching it to “boost his libido”, before deleting it sometime later.

On May 11 last year, he again entered Kuok Foundation House through an unsecured door that was left ajar. He visited his female friend and did his laundry there.

While waiting at the lift lobby at his friend’s floor, he noticed that the lift had stopped at a different floor, which was also designated for females only. He went to that floor and heard the sound of running water coming from a women’s toilet, then entered it.

When he realised his attempt to record a video was unsuccessful, he returned but the victim heard him. She shouted: “Who are you?”

Joel fled, retrieving his laundry and changing his clothes to evade detection. The victim managed to identify his back profile and told the hall manager what had happened.

Joel ran back to his room at Block 2 of Raffles Hall and deleted the video clip he had taken.

The police tracked his movements from closed-circuit television footage and arrested him a few hours later. He initially denied any wrongdoing but later admitted to his offences.

For insulting a woman’s modesty, Joel could have been jailed for up to a year or fined, or both.

For criminal trespass, he could have been jailed for up to three months or fined up to S$1,500, or both.

Related topics

NUS Monica Baey upskirt voyeurism court crime

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