Harsher penalties might be on the cards for sex fiends like Joshua Robinson
A review by MHA and other ministries is underway.
By now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, the name Joshua Robinson might probably induce some form of disgust from you.
The 39 year-old sex fiend incurred the wrath of the public when it was revealed that he sexually assaulted underage girls and possessed the largest haul of child pornography ever seized from an individual in Singapore.
Robinson pleaded guilty to nine charges on March 2:
– 3 counts of sexually penetrating a minor under the age of 16.
– 4 counts of making an obscene film
– Possession of an obscene film
– Showing an obscene film to a young person
During the sentencing, district judge Crystal Ong said, “There is no doubt in my mind that in doing what he did, the accused was a sexual predator. The law must come down hard on such individuals so as to specifically deter them from re-offending and also to deter others from committing such acts against vulnerable young persons.”
Robinson was sentenced to four years jail.
This sentence was widely panned by members of the public, including the father of one of the victims. An online petition for a harsher punishment was also started by a member of the public on March 5. It gathered more than 20,000 signatures within the span of 48 hours.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) replied on March 8 that it would not appeal the sentence meted out to Robinson.
AGC added that because the sex between Robinson and his two victims were consensual, Robinson could not be charged with rape (which would carry a longer jail term and possibility of caning). Additionally, getting Robison to plead guilty would have spared the victims of the trauma of being cross examined.
Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam also weighed in on the issue, saying that while he urged the public to respect AGC’s decision not to appeal Robinson’s sentence, he had asked his officials to ‘consider what approaches are necessary for offenders like Robinson to be dealt with more severely through higher penalties’.
Review of laws underway
Shanmugam mentioned in Parliament on Apr. 3 that the Ministry of Home Affairs, together with other ministries, is conducting a ‘comprehensive’ review to determine if current laws on child pornography and sex offences against minors are adequate.
He mentioned that while preferred charges for individual cases are “independent decisions” by the AGC, the review will be looking at policy matters that cover these processes.
The review, which would likely include a public consultation exercise, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Top photo via screengrabs from YouTube.