S'porean man, 38, given warning for criminal trespass into a church & defacing religious statue

The man claimed he wanted to beautify the statue.

Syahindah Ishak | January 13, 2021, 10:42 PM

A 37-year-old man was arrested in November 2020 for trespassing into the premises of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and defacing a statue of Mother Mary.

All charges withdrawn

On Jan. 11, the police said in a statement that the charges against the Singaporean Chinese man, now 38, were withdrawn.

The charges include defiling a place of worship with intent to insult a religion under Section 295 of the Penal Code, and criminal trespass under Section 447 of the Penal Code.

The police, in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), have instead administered a stern warning to him.

Both charges were withdrawn in court after the warning was administered, said police.

In addition, police said that the man was warned for committing criminal trespass into the same church on two earlier occasions on Nov. 2, 2020 and Nov. 5, 2020.

Has history of substance abuse disorder

Police investigations revealed that the man had committed criminal trespass by climbing over the fence and entering the courtyard of a church along Upper Serangoon Road on three occasions (Nov. 2, Nov. 5, and Nov. 12, 2020).

On the occasion of Nov. 12, the man used Blu Tack to stick marbles to the eyes of a statue of Mother Mary in the church compound.

Photo courtesy of Singapore Police Force (SPF).

The man was subsequently charged on Nov. 20, 2020 and was remanded at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for psychiatric assessment.

He was found to have an extensive history of substance use disorder.

However, he was not assessed to be of unsound mind at the time of the offence on Nov. 12.

Wanted to "beautify" the statue

According to the police, the man claimed that he had wanted to pray to the statue and intended to "beautify" it out of gratitude.

Police investigations revealed the man did not think that he would be defiling the statue. No permanent damage was done to the statue by the man's act.

Police added in the statement:

"A stern warning was thus given, taking into consideration the overall context of the offences, and taking into account the period of remand served."

Top images courtesy of SPF & via Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.