SINGAPORE: Former executive director of the Singapore Environment Council, Howard Shaw, will be sentenced on Monday afternoon for having paid sex with an underage girl.
The 41—year—old grandson of the founder of Shaw Organisation admitted in June to paying a 17—year—old girl S$500 for sex in October 2010.
In the prosecution’s submissions, it stated that the offence warrants a custodial sentence and urged the court to mete out a three—month jail term to Shaw.
The prosecution said the minor involved is ’worthy’ of protection as stated under the law.
Adding that the extent of the culpability depends on whether Shaw tried to verify the minor’s age, the prosecution pointed out the accused took absolutely no steps to ascertain the girl’s age.
The prosecution said that the defence’s request of a non—custodial sentence for Shaw is something that "cannot be done" as he had done nothing to ascertain the girl’s age. If the minor refuses to show documents to confirm her age, the prosecution said a patron should walk away "as due diligence".
However one may view the minor’s actions, the prosecution also said the focus should be on Shaw’s actions and a deterrent sentence is called for.
But defence lawyer Harpreet Singh Nehal pointed out that the girl was about 17 years and seven months old at the time of the offence, five months short of the legal age of 18.
With no criminal intent and pre—meditation, he said Shaw made an "honest and reasonable mistake". The reasonable mistake was that the minor showed no signs of her age, either in appearance or behaviour.
Mr Harpeet Singh added "there was fraudulent misrepresentation in this case", as the minor "colluded" with the pimp to hide her real age. He added that the minor was neither coerced into having sex, nor was she a victim of human trafficking.
Given the circumstances, Mr Harpeet Singh asked for a conditional discharge or a fine.
If sentenced on Monday, Shaw will be the second of the 51 men to be dealt with in the online vice ring crackdown.
In April, the former principal of Pei Chun Public School, Lee Lip Hong, was sentenced to nine weeks’ jail for a similar offence with the same underage girl.
The 39—year—old was released from Changi Prison in June after serving six weeks’ jail. The early remission was because of his good behaviour.
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