SINGAPORE – A trainee teacher who used his mobile phone over eight months to record students doing obscene acts in the toilet was jailed for four weeks on Friday (Feb 9).
Mitchell Low Tian Wei, 25, a final-year student at the National Institute of Education (NIE), had been taking videos of men using the toilet since he was in his third year of studies at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). These included men masturbating with their private parts exposed and men relieving themselves.
Low, who pleaded guilty to five charges of making an obscene film, was pursuing a four-year Bachelor of Science (Education) degree at NIE and staying at the university hostel at the time.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Lai said a 22-year-old NTU student was taking a shower in one of the cubicles at the NTU Hall of Residence around 1.10am on Oct 13, 2016, when he noticed a green mobile phone at the top of the cubicle.
He shouted and came out of the cubicle. The phone’s owner, later ascertained to be Low, then locked himself in a cubicle and deleted the footage he had just recorded and other similar recordings of men using the toilet, the court heard.
Police were called when Low eventually came out of the cubicle.
Fourteen obscene films and 61 uncensored films of various men showering were found in his cellphone.
Low’s lawyer Shashi Nathan said in mitigation that his client had been recognised as a stellar student by his lecturers who had attested to his strong academic and social character.
“Mitchell is extremely remorseful for his actions and is ready and willing to apologise to the victims for his out-of-character behaviour,” he said.
Mr Nathan also told District Judge Lorraine Ho that Low, who is now suspended, may have his Teacher Training Agreement terminated because of his conviction and will have to pay liquidated damages of about $202,000.
Ten other charges, including one of having films without a valid certificate, were considered in sentencing. Low could have been fined up to $40,000 and/or jailed for up to two years on each charge under the Films Act.