06 February 2009

Six men charged for sex with boy aged 15

The Attorney-General's Chambers appears to be aware that prosecutions for homosex can be politically sensitive. In this case, it went out of its way to explain that the alleged "victim" was a minor and that regardless of gender, there would be the "same protection of the law". Yes, but which law? Full essay.


Anonymous said...

Wow, I had no idea people could be prosecuted under old laws. Presumably laws are repealed because something is wrong with them. Is it like that in other countries too, that repealed laws still apply to crimes committed in years past?

Also, does a statute of limitations exist for S377 or S377A?

Anonymous said...

For me, the more interesting question is how this case moved to the judicial system in the first place.

If the sex was consensual between the boy and these men, this should have not been reported. How come the case is brought to justice? I can see several options:

- these relations were not consensual: highly unlikely given the duration over which they happened

- the boy decided to lodge a complain after the fact. For which reason? Blackmail? Something to win?

- a 3rd party discovered the events and decided to take action? Is it the family of the boy? Someone else? The police monitoring the chats on the internet? I hope it's not this last one because it really smells like a revival of the old park-roaming of the 90s brought to the 21st century...

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Anonymous 7 Feb 01:39 -

It is a recognised principle throughout the world that a minor is legally unable to give consent. Therefore sex with a minor is always considered non-consensual. The age of consent however, varies from place to place.

Anonymous said...

If it turns out that the youth had been going around searching for sex, and had been sexually active with many people, then in my mind he doesn't seem like a victim in the same way that a 15-year old girl who might be seduced for the first time would be. It should be a mitigating factor anyway.

If he tried to pass himself off as a 16-year old or 18-year old, then perhaps what they did should not be illegal at all. The reason is this: police trying to hunt down gays could deploy older-looking 15-year olds to intentionally try to seduce older peers, claiming all the time that they are "legal" 16- or 18-year olds. Then after meeting, they could arrest the adult. Some savvy 15-year old could even blackmail people on his own, by lying about his age, then threatening to involve the police if money isn't paid. I imagine that a lot of 15-year olds are already sexually active, so it seems the penalties may not be appropriate. I mean, life in prison for something consensual seems a bit much.

Anonymous said...

The real key to whether the government is sincere about its claim to equality will lie in the sentencing of the six men involved.

Will the six men be sentenced with the same severity as heterosexual men who have been similarly involved with underaged girls?

Robert L said...

Dear Yawningbread, thank you for this article.

Your article is quite long and I wonder if readers do not piece together the points the same way as I did. Let me try to link up the dots in shorter manner.

In the debate over 377A, the Minister had repeatedly stressed that the laws against male gay sex are not going to be proactively enforced to catch offenders when they have sex in the privacy of their own rooms.

Now, I'll make a pivotal assumption that, in the course of the trial, we are going to learn that at least some of those charges will be sex that took place in their own rooms. Wait for the trial and we'll see whether this assumption is right or wrong.

So, how is the AG going to prosecute them without contradicting his Minister's word given in Parliament? He does this by citing the offense committed against a minor. The introduction of the minor allows the state to catch offenders even if the sex occurs in private. So far, so good.

Curiously enough, the AG then sneaks back to 377A for the official charge, where you have pointed out that the penalty is heavier. This is a meandering, convoluted thinking process which can only come from a twisted mind.

What's more important are the two things that we can gleam:
(1) The penalty for sex offenses between consenting male adults are more severe than the penalty for sex offenses against minors. I can't imagine any other country in the whole world that bears such a warped sense of justice than what we have in Singapore.

(2) The AG is presumably not satisfied with charging the men for offenses against a minor. Obviously he feels that offending under 377A is the more serious matter. We have to wonder if the AG belongs to some religion that distorted his judgement on the application of the laws on the rest of the population. Even though the rest of the population may not share his religious zeal.