Swiss national jailed 4 months 3 weeks for underage sex
The Swiss national accused of having commercial sex with an underage girl was today sentenced to jail of four months and three weeks.
41-year-old Juerg Buergin was found guilty on both charges of having paid sex with a minor, following a three-day trial last month.
In his sentencing, District Judge Eddy Tham said the former UBS executive showed no signs of remorse and was "reckless" in not verifying the age of the minor.
Buergin was the first of the 51 men in the online vice ring cases to claim trial - a fact which the district judge said made a "significant difference" in his case.
So far, 18 men had been dealt with and on average, each man was jailed for about 12 weeks.
Giving his grounds of decision, Mr Tham said that he had considered sentencing Buergin to 12 weeks as "a starting point" - if Buergin had pleaded guilty.
But by claiming trial, Mr Tham pointed out that Buergin "should have realised that he would not be afforded the discount that had been given in previous cases as a sign of remorse."
The judge added that the father-of-two "clearly did not take any reasonable steps to avoid falling foul of the law".
Mr Tham then cited the first occasion where Buergin had sex with the girl in September 2010.
Mr Tham said that "alarm bells should have rung" for Buergin after he was informed by the pimp that the girl had to be home early due to parental control.
But Buergin did not show any concern nor bothered to make any verbal enquiry with her.
Mr Tham noted that Buergin had chosen to ignore the risks of this representation being untrue.
In addition, Mr Tham pointed out that Buergin's lack of remorse was also indicated by his claim that he was a a victim of cheating.
The judge chided Buergin for appearing to put full blame for his predicament on the misrepresentation, and took no responsibility for engaging in reckless commercial sex with the girl.
Mr Tham also noted the wide age disparity of 22 years between the girl and Buergin.
While taking Buergin's mitigation plea into consideration, Mr Tham said that Buergin's job loss and being "stuck in a foreign country" were not strong enough mitigating factors.
Throughout the half-hour as his sentence was being read out, Buergin remained emotionless and continued to do so even when he was later led away handcuffed by two police officers.
His lawyer, Mr Selva K Naidu told the media after the sentencing that his client "missed his family very much and wanted to put this behind him and go back home."
Buergin has two weeks to decide if he wants to appeal against his sentence.
But MediaCorp understands that Buergin does not intend to do so, for now.
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