TL;DR – Justice requires us to also consider the rights of the alleged offender.
We had previously wrote about Facebook user Ms Emilia Chong’s account of how she and her friends caught a man hiding in the female cubicle of the ground floor toilet of NTUC Income Building at Tampines.
Her original post has since been deleted and the Singapore Police Force clarified on Sunday 30 December two points raised by her.
In the Facebook post, the Police says that they are aware of Ms Chong ‘s Facebook post where the 30-year old man had allegedly committed the offences of criminal trespass and insulting the modesty of women at 300 Tampines Avenue 5 on 26 December 2018.
They also went on to clarify two points raised by Ms Chong in her post.
Ms Chong claimed that police officers who attended to her case did not arrest the man immediately but viewed CCTV footage first.
The Police explained that the Police officers had detained the man (so that he could not run away) before proceeding to conduct preliminary investigations, which included viewing CCTV footage and interviewing witnesses, to establish if there was prima facie evidence of the alleged offences.
(By the way, according to Google, ‘prima facie’ is a legal term used to mean that you have enough evidence to prove something by pointing to some basic facts, but that your proof can be refuted. )
There being so, the Police then proceeded to effect the arrest. These established procedures are to ensure fairness and impartiality towards all parties involved, including the alleged offender.
Ms Chong also claimed that she was told that the man could be let off with a warning
What really happened was that the Police officers had told her that the punishment for perpetrators of such offences could range from a stern warning to prosecution in Court, depending on the facts of the case. The recommended punishment must be taken in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, and only after investigations have been completed. As such, at the point of arrest, the Police officers would not have been able to determine the eventual course of action against the perpetrator.
The Police had clarified the above points with Ms Chong.
They have rights, too.
Perhaps the most important point of the post lies in the concluding paragraph,
Anyone found to have committed an offence will be dealt with in accordance with the law. At the same time, justice requires us to also consider the rights of the alleged offender, and to take actions of arrest and prosecution only after appropriate investigations have been conducted.
Food for thought?
(Cover image via)