SINGAPORE: Does being drunk make one less culpable when making racist comments? And is re—posting or sharing videos of such acts a criminal offence?
These questions arose after the video of a Singapore Institute of Management student making racist jokes garnered thousands of views online recently.
Twenty—four—year—old Justin Wee was captured in a five—minute video making jokes about Malays and Indians.
The SIM student was drunk and had to be propped up by his friend.
The footage was filmed by a National University of Singapore student.
Both have since been reprimanded by their schools.
SIM added in an email reply that it is "appalled" by Mr Wee’s behaviour and it will hold "a disciplinary hearing very soon" to decide on the appropriate action.
On Monday, Mr Wee sent out an email expressing regret over his comments.
He said the video was first posted on Facebook but made its way onto YouTube the next day.
So far, it has garnered more than 11,000 views on YouTube.
But does his claim of being drunk make him less culpable?
Josephus Tan, lawyer, Patrick Tan Advocates & Solicitors, said: "(It is) very unlikely that it will be given much mitigating weight because as we understand in criminal law, the defence of intoxication, even if it’s valid defence, is a very difficult defence to be invoked successfully."
And are those sharing the video breaching the law?
Mr Tan said: "From a legal standpoint, if one is to apply a strict interpretation of, for example, the offence of abetting, then yes, clearly an offence is made out for abetting."
"Even though the video was not manufactured or created by those people who circulate it, but the very act of them circulating (the video) online can qualify under the word ’abetting’."
Police are currently investigating the case.
They said anyone who re—posts or contributes offensive comments to postings and breaches the law will be taken to task.
There’ve also been lots of comments about the video on the Channel NewsAsia Singapore Facebook page.
One said Mr Wee should learn from his mistake and asked about the intention of the friend who took the video.
Some said claiming to be drunk is a "stupid excuse".
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