SINGAPORE: A fitness instructor at a gym entered a ladies' toilet and took a video of a woman showering after her session with him.
The 40-year-old victim saw the phone, shouted and confronted the man before calling the police once she got to somewhere safe.
The 30-year-old man was sentenced to four weeks' jail on Monday (Dec 13). He pleaded guilty to a charge each of criminal trespass and insulting a woman's modesty, with a third charge taken into consideration.
The court imposed a gag order on anything that is likely to lead to the identification of the victim.
The victim had gone to a gym on Oct 7, 2019 for a workout. At the time, there was another man in the gym, a 43-year-old lawyer, and the accused guided both of them in their exercises.
After finishing her workout, the victim entered the women's toilet to shower. While she was showering, the offender entered the cubicle next to hers and held his phone above the partition to take a video of the woman.
The victim saw the phone and shouted. She then wrapped a towel around herself and checked the next cubicle, where she found the offender.
She told him to leave the toilet, and he did so. The woman put on her clothes, retrieved her belongings and left the gym immediately.
Once outside, she called the police and said a gym trainer had taken a picture of her. She said she was unwilling to wait in the gym as she felt uncomfortable, but would wait for the police nearby.
After leaving the toilet, the offender went for a smoke. While smoking, he performed a factory reset of his phone even though he had already deleted the video.
During the police interview, he said this was not the first time he attempted such an act. On two other occasions, he had entered the women's toilet intending to record two other women showering.
However, on both occasions, when he lifted his phone slightly over the partition, he felt it was not a good idea and left. Nothing was captured in the videos, and he deleted them, he told investigators.
The prosecutor asked for four weeks' jail. She said the man was fined in 2016 for drink driving, and jailed in 2017 for forgery and giving false information with intent to cause a public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person.
In mitigation, the man said: "I'm just remorseful for my actions. I just want to move forward with my life once I'm done with this. I will not repeat my mistakes again."
He said he had a kidney operation scheduled for February, but was told he would be released before that.
A mitigation plea prepared for the man by his former lawyers stated that he was filled with guilt and panic and that was why he performed the factory reset of his phone.
DOESN'T APPEAR HE WAS "FILLED WITH GUILT AND PANIC": PROSECUTOR
The prosecutor said it did not appear that he was "filled with guilt and panic".
"He was smoking. It's quite clear that he already deleted the video, but wanted to make sure the police couldn't find the video so he did a factory reset," she said.
She also referred to an argument in the mitigation plea, saying that the court proceedings would have an impact on the offender's employment.
This is an "irrelevant factor" and should not reduce the sentence, she said, adding that the man was scheduled to plead guilty from January this year but was only doing so now after his lawyers had discharged themselves.
"There's really not much to say for his plea of guilt," said the prosecutor. "The defence emphasised he didn't harbour heinous intentions as he only went in to relieve himself. The fact is – that he entered a female restroom and thereafter stayed there when he realised someone was showering."
She said a community-based sentence as asked for by the man's previous lawyers was "completely inappropriate" in this case as the man is not a young offender and there was nothing to back up the claim that he has a strong propensity for reform.
The judge agreed that a community-based sentence such as a short detention order is "wholly inappropriate", adding that general deterrence is the key consideration in this case and requires a jail term to be imposed.