The Straits Times very likely violated gag order meant to protect victim’s identity

ST appeared to have published the convicted person's full name in the photo caption.

Belmont Lay | September 23, 2017 @ 06:39 pm


It appears that The Straits Times has violated a court-decreed gag order that was imposed in the first place to protect the identity of a victim involved in a crime of passion.

The article

On Sept. 22, 2017, ST published an article, “Cook jailed after slashing police officer, changing girlfriend’s online passwords and posting her nude photo“.

In essence, the case involved a 25-year-old cook who posted on his ex-lover’s Facebook profile a naked photograph of her, as well as a video of the 18-year-old teenager undressing and in the nude.

The man had also injured a police officer with a bread knife.

For his offences, he was sentenced to six years and two months in jail and six strokes of the cane.

Eagle-eyed readers spotted convicted person’s name in photo caption

In highly sensitive cases involving crimes of passion, where there is a sufficiently high likelihood of embarrassment to the victim once the case is made public, the court can order the names of those involved in the case to be redacted.

In the third paragraph of the ST article, it was also reported that a gag order had been imposed in this case to not identify the victim and the convicted person:

Both cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the girl’s identity.

Name revealed in photo caption

However, accompanying the article is a stock photo and the following caption, where we have redacted the convicted man’s full name:

[Redacted]XXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXXXX[Redacted] was sentenced to six years and two months in jail and six strokes of the cane for the offences. PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

Here is screen shot of the original ST article:

Visible for more than 24 hours

Online murmurings of this boo-boo soon spread:

Edits made to remove man’s name

According to the newest version of the ST article, the convicted man’s name has been removed.

This latest update was made on Saturday, Sept. 23, at about 1pm — some 24 hours after the original piece went online.

However, a google search reveals a cached version of the original text is still available for viewing.

Mothership.sg has reached out to the Attorney General’s Chambers, as well as the convicted man’s lawyer, Josephus Tan, for comment, and will update this article when they respond.

About Belmont Lay

Belmont can pronounce "tchotchke".

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