What is an Arrestable Offence and What Isn’t?

Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation

Sometimes, when scrolling through social media posts, you may come across videos or photos of incidents where a potential criminal act has happened, yet the person who committed it did not get arrested, or the police may have shown up but only recorded the identities of those involved. 

A common reaction to such posts is that of general confusion about what is deemed a crime and what isn’t. However, it’s actually up to the police to determine if a crime is arrestable or not, based on a few factors.

Arrestable Offences

The main difference between an arrestable and non-arrestable offence is the requirement for an arrest warrant. By law, the police will need a warrant before they are allowed to make the arrest, and they will have to follow a specific arrest procedure. This means that even if it’s a non-arrestable offence, the police can still make the arrest once they obtain the warrant or if the victim decides to press charges.

However, for arrestable offences, the police are empowered by the law to arrest the suspect without a warrant, following the same arrest procedure. According to the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), arrestable and non-arrestable offences are labeled as “may arrest without warrant” and “shall not arrest without warrant”. One way to remember this:

  • Arrestable: Offences punishable with 3 or more years of imprisonment, or death
  • Non-arrestable: offences punishable with less than 3 years of imprisonment, or with a fine

Examples of Arrestable Offences:

According to the Penal Code, here are just some examples of arrestable offences where the police can arrest the suspect without a warrant:

  • Murder, or a rash act, or an attempt that could cause death
  • Voluntarily causing grievous hurt, or using a dangerous weapon
  • Rash or negligent driving
  • Rape
  • Theft and robbery
  • Assault, or use of criminal force with intent to outrage modesty, such as molest
  • Criminal trespass
  • Committing an obscene act in public, unlawful assemblies, fighting in a public place or rioting
  • Impersonating, threatening or obstructing a public servant 

A person can also be arrested if found to be an army deserter or possessing housebreaking tools without a good reason for doing so.

Most of the confusion between arrestable and non-arrestable offences in social media videos usually revolves around the difference between causing hurt, which is non-arrestable, and causing grievous hurt, which is an arrestable offence. 

Non-arrestable Offences

If the police deem that the offence is non-arrestable, that doesn’t mean the suspect gets away. The police will recommend the victim to file a police report and a Magistrate’s Complaint at the Community Justice Tribunals Division (CJTD) for the Court to decide on issuing an arrest warrant for the suspect.

The police will then follow up by gathering witness reports, recording the identities of the parties involved and also ensure that any injured persons receive immediate medical treatment. Once the Magistrate decides that the case is worth pursuing, the police will then receive the warrant and proceed to arrest the suspect. 

Engaging a Lawyer

If you are currently in a situation where you’re still unsure of the difference between an arrestable and non-arrestable offence and need to speak to a legal professional, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.

Mr. Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years, from traffic offences, and high-profile criminal cases to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr. Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

Additional Resource: https://singaporelegaladvice.com/law-articles/arrestable-or-not-seizable-and-non-seizable-offences-in-singapore/

Sexual Harassment and the Effects of the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA)

Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation

Sexual harassment is defined as the making of unwanted sexual advances and can take many forms, including but not limited to, physical or verbal bullying, sexual coercion or the inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favours.

The Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) of 2014 was enacted to provide a variety of criminal and civil remedies against such acts. Its purpose is to protect people from harassment, stalking, cyberbullying, and other anti-social and undesirable behaviours.

The legislation was recently amended to strengthen the existing penalties for harassment. In response to sexual harassment, it introduced new offences such as unlawful stalking and provided a range of self-help measures, civil remedies, and criminal sanctions. POHA has been a critical legislative tool in protecting harassment victims by providing them with effective redress. According to a press release from the Ministry of Law, more than 1700 prosecutions and over 3000 Magistrate’s Complaints have been filed under the Act.

It is critical to distinguish harassment from mutual flirting or consensual romantic relationships. It encompasses a wide range of behaviour and is not limited to physical conduct. Surprisingly, the term “sexual harassment” is not legally defined. The POHA will, however, prosecute a few standard offences. Here are the various types of offences covered by POHA

Non-physical Offences

This includes verbal abuse and lewd remarks, intentionally causing harassment, alarm, or distress through threatening, abusive, or insulting words, behaviour, or communication, according to Sections 3 and 4 of the POHA. The POHA also provides examples to demonstrate this.

The maximum penalty for intentionally causing harassment, alarm, or distress is a fine of up to $5,000 and/or a 6-month prison sentence. For repeat offenders, the maximum penalties are doubled. 

Even if the accused had no intention of harassing, alarming, or distressing the victim, he or she can still be prosecuted under Section 4 of the POHA. For example, if X makes comments about Y on a widely accessible social media platform that causes Y distress, X will be found guilty even if he/she had no intention of distressing Y.

Such an offence will attract a fine of up to $5000. Repeat offenders may expect enhanced penalties of up to a $10,000 fine and/or an imprisonment term of up to 6 months. 

Causing fear or provocation of violence 

This offence is distinct from the threat of physical violence because harassment, alarm, or distress are examples of non-physical harm. It is a crime to intentionally lead someone to believe or act in a way that leads them to believe that unlawful violence will be used against them.

For example, if X makes threatening and abusive remarks on a publicly accessible website, followed by a post containing Y’s identity information and threats to physically attack Y, then X has committed a crime by threatening physical violence.

The maximum penalties for instilling fear or inciting violence are a $5,000 fine and/or a 12-month prison sentence. For repeat offenders, the maximum penalties will be doubled.

Unlawful stalking

Section 7 of the POHA makes unlawful stalking a crime. It includes stalking-related acts or omissions that cause the victim to feel harassed, alarmed, or distressed. The court will consider whether the accused person:

a) intended to harass, cause alarm, or distress the victim; or

b) had known, or ought reasonably to know that his/her conduct was likely to harass, alarm, or distress the victim.

Some examples of stalking include:

  1. Following the victim or a related person;
  2. Making, or attempting to make communication with the victim, relating to the victim, or purporting to originate from the victim;
  3. Entering or loitering in any place (whether public or private) outside or near the victim’s residence or place of business or any other place frequented by the victim;
  4. Interfering with property in the possession of the victim;
  5. Giving or sending material to the victim, or leaving it where it will be found by, given to or brought ot the attention of the victim; and
  6. Keeping the victim under surveillance 

These are some examples to illustrate what constitutes unlawful stalking pursuant to the POHA provisions.

  1. Y repeatedly sends emails to Y’s subordinate (X) with suggestive comments about X’s body;
  2. Y sending flowers to X daily even after X has asked Y to stop doing so
  3. Y repeatedly circulates revealing photographs of a classmate (X) to other classmates 

Perpetrators may be subject to a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment of up to 12 months or both, with maximum penalties doubled for repeat offenders.

Doxxing 

Doxxing is to publish a person’s personal information with the intent of harassing, threatening, or facilitating violence against them. This law is aimed to enhance victims’ protection against undesirable online behaviour. Sharing one’s personal information on social media and asking others to “teach them a lesson” is an example of doxxing.

Publishing any information revealing the identity of the target person or their relations is considered harassment under sections 3 and 4 of the POHA. An intention to harass may be found on the facts if this is done in the hope of shaming or distressing the victim.

Publishing someone’s personal information with the intent to harass may result in a fine of up to $5000 and/or a 6-month prison sentence. Repeat offenders face double the maximum penalties.

If the post was intended to cause or facilitate violence or physical harm, the maximum penalties are a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both.

Voyeurism

The number of charges filed against perpetrators who deliberately and wilfully invade the victim’s privacy has increased in recent years. For example, the highly publicized Monica Baey case, in which a man secretly filmed a woman showering, made headlines and brought to light a common problem afflicting women in Singapore.

Previously, voyeurism could only be prosecuted under Penal Code Section 509 for insulting a woman’s modesty. However this time, Singapore’s Penal Code has been amended to include Section 377BB in order to broaden the scope of the law. The following acts are now classified as voyeurism under this section:

  1. Intentionally observing the victim doing a private act, knowing and believing that the victim does not consent to being observed. This includes the classic “peeping Tom” act.
  2. Operating equipment, such as binoculars, to enable one to observe the victim doing a private act. An example would be watching the victim change clothes without his/her consent and regardless of whether the private act was recorded.
  3. Operating equipment, such as mobile phones, to enable one to observe the victim’s private parts without the victim’s consent and with the knowledge or belief that the victim does not consent to it. This includes using a mobile phone to look under victims’ skirts in public.
  4. Recording an image of the victim’s private parts without the victim’s consent and with the knowledge or belief that the victim does not consent to it. This includes taking underskirt pictures or videos of victims in public.
  5. Installing equipment such as a camera in the victim’s bedroom or in other private areas to enable one to commit any of the aforementioned acts. 

If found guilty of voyeurism, one can expect a prison sentence of up to two years, as well as a fine or caning (or any combination of these). Minors under the age of 14 will be imprisoned for up to two years and fined or caned. Alternatively, they could be placed on probation. The defendant’s age is also an important factor in determining the sentence.

Physical offences

When sexual harassment takes the more egregious form of molest or rape, the Penal Code prescribes harsher penalties for the offender. Section 354 of the Penal Code defines what constitutes an outrage of modesty, and Sections 375 and 376 define what constitutes rape. These sections provide protection for both men and women.

The civil actions and orders relating to the above contraventions are as follows: Both individuals and entities can be held liable for harassment-related offenses. 

  • Protection Orders

A protection order (“PO”) can prohibit the wrongdoer from continuing his or her wrongful order or from publishing specific communications. Counselling or mediation may also be recommended for the parties involved. Notably, POs and EPOs can be granted to people who are related to the victims as well as the victims themselves.

When a harasser is reasonably suspected of failing to comply with a PO or EPO, the police may arrest him or her without a warrant. Under the POHA, a victim may apply to the court for a PO against the perpetrator for the following offenses.

  1. Intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress under Section 3 of the POHA;
  2. Harassment, alarm or distress under Section 4 of the POHA;
  3. Fear or provocation of violence under Section 5 of the POHA
  4. Threatening, abusing or insulting public servant or public service worker under Section 6 of the POHA; and
  5. Unlawful stalking under Section 7 of the POHA 

A Protection Order is a flexible remedy and the period of protection will vary according to the factual matrix of the victim. This will be influenced by the court’s discretion. The following are the factors the court will look at to grant a PO:

  1. The nature and severity of the harassment
  2. The perpetrator’s motive and purpose
  3. How much emotional and psychological harm did the victim suffer?
  4. To what extent is the harassment known to the public?
  5. Whether the victim could have avoided the harassment 
  6. Whether the perpetrator genuinely tried to ensure that the victim would not misconstrue or misunderstand his/her actions and 
  7. Whether the harassment could be expected to be tolerated by reasonable people.

In urgent cases, one may also be able to get an Expedited Protection Order. 

  • Expedited Protection Orders (EPOs)

This is a temporary order that will be in effect for 28 days from the date it was served on the respondent. It is usually granted based on the severity of the victim’s situation.

If a Protection Order or Expedited Protection Order is violated, the perpetrator will be charged with an additional offense under the POHA. In this case, victims can file a police report against the harassers. The harasser faces a maximum fine of $5000 and/or a prison sentence of up to 6 months if convicted.

  • Obtaining compensation for criminal offences

A convicted offender can be ordered by the court to pay monetary compensation to the person injured under Section 359 of the Criminal Procedure Code. However, compensation orders under the CPC have rarely been given for molest offences. 

Parliament has seen fit to provide the victim with a civil cause of action for statutory torts for the offences of harassment, threats, and stalking under the POHA. 

  • Enhanced penalties

Enhanced penalties may be imposed on accused persons who have an intimate relationship with the victim and are involved in a case involving vulnerable people. The maximum penalties for crimes against vulnerable people, particularly those with mental and physical disabilities, have been doubled, regardless of age.

An individual or entity, for example, who commits the offence of causing fear or provocation of violence against a vulnerable person can be fined up to $10,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 24 months.

In cases where the offender and victim have an intimate relationship, the court will decide whether or not both parties are in an intimate relationship based on the facts and circumstances.

The court will consider the following:

  • Whether or not both parties are living in the same household
  • Whether they share the tasks and duties of their daily lives 
  • Remedies for victims of falsehoods 

Stop Publication Orders 

Under the recently amended POHA provisions, victims of falsehoods will be able to obtain remedies against falsehoods instead of just individuals.The court has the authority to issue a “Stop Publication Order” (“SPO”), which prohibits further publication of false statements. An SPO effectively requires offenders to stop publishing false statements by a specific deadline. This is in accordance with Section 15A of the POHA.

Additionally, an Interim Stop Publication Order (“IPSO”) may be granted under Section 16A of the POHA to expedite the issuance of a stop publication order. This is a temporary order that will only be in effect until it expires or is revoked by the court.

General and targeted correction order 

General and targeted correction order requires the offender to publish a correction notice within a specified time, in a specified form. This requires the offender to publish a correction notice within a specified time, in a specified form. 

Disabling order

This order requires an internet intermediary to block users’ access to content that allegedly spreads falsehoods. If the court believes it is necessary to expedite the issuance of such an order, an interim disabling order to the same effect may be issued while the disabling order is being sought.

The Protection from Harassment Courts

The recently amended POHA has resulted in the establishment of Protection from Harassment Courts in Singapore for harassment victims. These courts may hear both criminal and civil cases, with filing procedures and case timelines expected to be simplified.

Victims will be able to file more straightforward claims instead of an Originating Summons for claims of up to $20,000 in damages and applications for Protection Orders. Most applications for Protection Orders (POs) and Expedited Protection Orders (EPOs) will be heard by the Court within 4 weeks and 48-72 hours, respectively. This could be completed in 24 hours for more urgent cases.

Is it possible for overseas offenders to be prosecuted under the POHA?

It is possible to prosecute POHA offenders who are overseas if at the time of the offence,

  1. The victim was in Singapore, and
  2. The offender knew or had reason to believe that the victim was in Singapore.

For instance, where an overseas offender circulates revealing photographs of a victim (who is in Singapore) knowing that the victim studies in Singapore, may be charged and convicted of unlawful stalking in Singapore.

Engaging a Lawyer

If you are currently in a situation that requires mediation or legal advice, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.

Mr. Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years, from traffic offences and high-profile criminal cases to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr. Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

What is Mandatory Counselling?

Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation

Usually with disputes involving family members, the litigation process may not always resolve the situation. One way to help family members or related parties reach an amicable settlement in their dispute is usually through counselling.

However, did you know that in certain circumstances, the court may order that counselling be made compulsory as an attempt to resolve the case? 

Mandatory Counselling Order 

In cases where individuals and families are dealing with challenging legal issues, they may be issued with a court order that will require the parties to attend counselling sessions as a means to provide therapeutic support for their situation.

The counselling order is usually issued in cases involving:

  • Divorce Proceedings for couples with at least one child below 21 years old
  • Family violence – administered by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to keep family members safe by teaching them ways to resolve conflicts amicably, this order may also be issued with a Personal Protection Order (PPO).
  • Young offender – the Youth Court may issue an order for both the youth and parents to attend counselling to resolve conflicts or for rehabilitation purposes
  • Youth in need of protection or state intervention by MSF’s Child Protective Service (CPS) if it involves serious child protection concerns or cases of sexual abuse, severe injuries inflicted by a parent or signs of serious neglect. In such cases, the child may also be placed in foster care. For less serious cases, the child may be referred to a community-based Child Protection Specialist Centre (CSPC) for support and improvement on parenting, caregiving methods and counselling to strengthen the relationship between parent(s) and child.
  • Pre-Abortion – under the Ministry of Health’s Guidelines on Termination of Pregnancy, all pregnant women are required to undergo mandatory pre-abortion counselling regardless her nationality to ensure she’s making an informed decision before proceeding with it.

Cases Involving Youths Below 16 Years Old 

The Youth Courts may issue an order according to section 44 of the Children and Young Persons Act (CYPA) for youth arrest cases which can include community service or a stint at a juvenile rehabilitation centre.

The Youth Court may also add other orders for the youth and their parents or guardians too if necessary to resolve their relationship problems; assist in rehabilitating and managing the young offender and to enhance, promote and protect the physical, social and emotional wellbeing and safety of the young offender.

What To Do When You Are Issued With a Counselling Order?

For a divorce proceeding involving parents of at least one child below 21 years old, the parties will have to meet with a Court Family Specialist (CFS) from the Counselling and Psychological Services for Counselling and a court-appointed mediator to resolve any disagreements over the divorce and issues related to maintenance. These sessions only involve the couple without the lawyer’s presence.

For cases involving a Personal Protection Order (PPO) issued together with the Counselling Order like family violence, the court will inform you of the objectives of counselling and the consequences of not attending it with the date and time when you have to return for the Court Review.

A counsellor from a Social Service Agency will contact you to set your first counselling appointment. The counsellor may also conduct an interview to better understand your situation and depending on the progress made during these counselling sessions, may also decide how many sessions will be needed, if there will be a need for individual and/or group sessions with family members or with people who have similar experiences – all as long as the Counselling Order is still in effect.

Failure to abide by a counselling order is equivalent to being in contempt of court which is a punishable offence by law. In cases involving youth offenders, parents or guardians may also have to execute a bond to ensure the youth complies with the order or they will be liable for a fine of up to S$2,000.

If you need more information on this matter, it’s best to speak to a family lawyer who can guide you through the process.

Engaging a Lawyer

If you are currently in a situation that requires mediation or legal advice, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.

Mr. Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years, from traffic offences and high-profile criminal cases to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr. Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

Additional Resource: https://singaporelegaladvice.com/law-articles/mandatory-counselling-ordered-by-court/

What Should You Do Right After a Traffic Accident?

Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation

While we may have some of the most stringent requirements for obtaining a drivers’ licence with state-of-the-art traffic safety and surveillance systems in place, accidents still can, and do happen on our roads sometimes.

Those who are directly involved in such accidents, depending on the severity, may experience elevated levels of anxiety and confusion, and as a result, become completely unsure of what to do next. In this article, we will provide a simplified guide on what you should do right after a traffic accident, whether you’re directly involved, or acting as a witness.

Casualties at the Accident Site

If you are at the scene, check if there is anyone who is in need of medical attention. If there are bodies on the road, don’t move them by yourself. Make sure you call 995 immediately for an ambulance.

You should only call 999 for the Police too if needed in scenarios such as:

  • Hit-and-run case where the party leaves the scene without helping the victim
  • Victims injured badly enough that they may have to be taken to the hospital
  • Pedestrians or cyclists involved in the accident
  • Fatalities
  • Damage to public property due to the impact of the accident
  • Involvement of a foreign-registered vehicle

If you do need to make a police report, you should be as detailed as possible with all the information you have because the report can also be used as an official written record of the accident which your insurance company and lawyer will require when processing accident claims.

A general rule of thumb is the accident has to be reported to the police if the victim was given at least 3 days of medical leave. If the victim was hospitalised because of the accident, the police report can be made right after they have been discharged.

Besides visiting your nearest police station, you can also lodge your report via the police’s e-Traffic Accident Report service.

Gather the Contact Details and Evidence

The next thing you want to do is to exchange your contact information with the other party, preferably in a composed and civil manner regardless of the extent of the accident and whoever’s at fault, and gather evidence of the accident. You may also engage a lawyer who can guide you through the whole process.

Unless the other party in the accident is seriously injured, you should exchange your full name, NRIC number, mobile number, home address, and your insurer’s details with them. This also extends to the other parties involved in the accident such as passengers or bystanders and witnesses.

If the accident is severe enough where there might be a dispute over damages, it is advisable to gather as much evidence of the accident scene. This evidence can consist of:

  • Photos, preferably wide-angle shots of the accident scene and surrounding areas. If there are other noticeable signs of the accident such as skidmarks on the road or nearby debris caused by the accident, they should be visible in the photo
  • Footage recorded from your dashboard or in-vehicle camera if you have one
  • Note the date, time, and location of the accident scene, any nearby landmarks, as well as weather and road conditions during that period.
  • License plate numbers of the vehicles involved
  • Evidence of damage to your own vehicle from the accident, including your own license plate number in the shot
  • For accidents involving multiple vehicles, try to capture photos where both the front and rear vehicles are in the shot too.

You can also draw a detailed sketch of the accident scene and it will be accepted if the position of the vehicles relative to any nearby landmarks is clearly depicted, eg. to the side of a specific statue or building.

Please ensure that the vehicles are moved from the scene only after you have taken photographs of the accident, which you should conclude as quickly as you can, to minimise disruption to traffic. If the vehicles are moved before evidence has been gathered, it may affect the parties’ liabilities or claims for damages.

Your insurer should also be able to guide you if a tow truck is needed for your case and you should ask them to provide you with contacts of authorised tow trucks as there are unauthorised services being offered that may complicate matters if you are making a claim against the other party or worse, you may get scammed.

Another general rule of thumb is to always contact your insurance company within 24 hours whenever you’re involved in an accident whether you plan to claim damages from the other party or their insurer, or even if there isn’t any visible damage to your vehicle.

Claims for Damages

If you are making a claim for damage to your vehicle from the accident, you should also allow the other party to inspect your vehicle before the repair has started for transparency purposes when submitting third-party damage claims.

If you are claiming for personal injury or property damage due to the accident, you may also apply for the third party’s motor accident report from the General Insurance Association after filing your own motor accident report.

Engaging a Lawyer

If you are currently in a situation that requires mediation or legal advice, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.

Mr. Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years, from traffic offences and high-profile criminal cases to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr. Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

Additional Resource: https://singaporelegaladvice.com/law-articles/what-to-do-in-a-traffic-accident/

Postnuptial Agreements in Singapore

Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation

Nuptial agreements between couples determine what will happen if the parties end up separated or widowed. Prenuptial agreements are made before the marriage and function like a contract between the couple covering practical areas such as maintenance, custody-related issues if there is a child involved, as well as the ownership and division of property.

Postnuptial agreements are written during the marriage and are a more accurate and updated reflection of the couple’s attitudes and intentions after the marriage. It is also presumed that postnuptial agreements are made after the couple have fully understood the responsibilities and expectations of married life. Because of this difference, the courts will generally give more weight to postnuptial agreements with a higher likelihood of it being enforced.

Difference Between Postnuptial Agreement and Deed of Separation

In a previous article, we explained what a Deed of Separation is and how to get one. The difference between that and a postnuptial agreement is that a deed of separation is for couples that already have the intention to separate, but have yet to meet the conditions for divorce

A postnuptial agreement can be made by any couple, even if their relationship is fine and they have no intention to separate. 

The other difference is that a Deed of Separation is a legally binding agreement that kicks in automatically once it’s signed whereas a postnuptial agreement may only be enforced by a court decision. The court may also choose to take the postnuptial agreement into account when deciding on the couple’s ancillary matters such as maintenance and child custody.

In the unfortunate event where a spouse dies, the postnuptial agreement also serves a secondary function as a will. The only difference is that while a will applies to anyone related to the deceased, the postnuptial agreement will only be applicable to the surviving spouse.

Common Terms for Postnuptial Agreements

There isn’t a standard template or list of items to include in a postnuptial agreement and generally, the terms will be up to the parties drafting it. Not all postnuptial agreements will be automatically enforced, especially if they contradict established family laws.

Some of the more common postnuptial agreement terms include:

  • Allocation and division of property and other assets after divorce
  • Custody, care and control of the child after divorce
  • Division of marital debt after divorce
  • Maintenance and duration of payments
  • Allocation of assets if a spouse dies during the marriage

While it is technically possible for you to draft a postnuptial agreement by yourself, it is advisable to hire a lawyer as they will be able to draft an agreement that complies with legal requirements, while providing timely and accurate advice to ensure the agreement is watertight and does not run afoul of any established family laws.

The lawyer will also be able to help you navigate more complex terms that will require calculation of liabilities such as marital debts. Due to the sensitive nature of postnuptial agreements, it is always advisable to carefully consider the terms and arrangements before finalising it.

While a couple will only need a single postnuptial agreement, each party may hire their own respective lawyer, or hire the same lawyer to draft the agreement, provided both parties are agreeable to all the terms of the agreement.

Engaging a Lawyer

If you are currently in a situation that requires mediation or legal advice, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, high-profile criminal cases – to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

Additional Resource: https://singaporelegaladvice.com/law-articles/post-nuptial-agreement-singapore/

What You Need to Know About Entrapment in Singapore

Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation

You may be familiar with movies where a character, usually a police officer or detective, goes undercover by joining a gang or a crime syndicate to gather evidence against them. One specific example of entrapment could be the officer pretending to be a gang member, requesting another member to buy drugs for him. This would lead to the gang member and dealer eventually getting charged for drug trafficking.

By definition, entrapment refers to the act of getting someone, usually a suspect, to commit an offence by concealing the facts or simply by misrepresentation. In this case, the undercover officer concealed his real identity and made the dealer commit a criminal offence. 

However, if the officer had bought the narcotics from the dealer himself without any effort at concealment, then he would have simply just provided an opportunity for the dealer to commit an offence. This won’t be considered entrapment.

The Legality of Entrapment

The example above involved someone acting for the authorities but entrapment can also refer to a private citizen or company acting on their own. Singapore’s courts will generally accept evidence that was obtained through entrapment provided they are:

  • Relevant to the case;
  • Not harmful for all parties involved

If the court finds that the method of obtaining this evidence caused more problems to the parties involved rather than being useful to the case, then the court may reject or deny it. This applies to both legally obtained evidence, as well as those illegally obtained through unlawful means such as hacking or stealing.

While an illegally obtained piece of evidence may result in punishment for that act, the evidence itself may still be used in court if it is relevant to the case. The main difference between illegally obtained evidence and entrapment is the element of instigation.

Using the same example of the undercover police officer, if he had instead convinced a person with no interest in drugs to procure some for him, then the officer may get prosecuted by the state instead as such behaviour would be considered unconstitutional. 

Private and State Entrapment

While state entrapment usually involves the authorities or the government, private entrapment involves private citizens or companies conducting the act. An example would be a media company instigating someone to commit software piracy to make a case against copyright infringement. 

Evidence gathered by private entrapment may also be accepted by Singapore’s courts, granted that they were obtained through lawful means. For evidence gathered by unlawful means, further action may be taken by the court against the party gathering the evidence to ensure fairness.

Entrapment is Not a Defence

Depending on the facts of the case, the court may decide that the entrapment could be considered a mitigating factor for the case and weigh the impact the entrapment had on the intent and guilt of the offender. Was the person planning to commit such an act in the first place?

For example, if an undercover officer convinces a person with no criminal tendencies to commit an offence that he/she would not if not for the officer’s request, then the court may view that as a mitigating factor in the case.

However, if the officer merely mentions an illegal act, to which the offender arranges for it to happen, such as illegal prostitution, then the entrapment would be viewed by the court as justified and there will be no mitigating value in this case.

If you strongly suspect that you are being entrapped to commit an offence, then it is advisable for you to consult a lawyer to better understand your situation and to provide you with the best advice for your possible next steps. 

Engaging a Lawyer

If you are currently in a situation that requires mediation or legal advice, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, high-profile criminal cases – to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

Additional Resource: https://singaporelegaladvice.com/law-articles/entrapment-legal-singapore/

Pre-Conditions and Legal Grounds For Divorce in Singapore

Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation

In our previous articles, we explained the process of filing for divorce in Singapore, as well as ways to prove unreasonable behaviour in a marriage. In this article, we will summarise the pre-conditions and legal grounds for getting a divorce.

For a divorce to proceed, there needs to be proof of an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage which will make up the legal grounds for the divorce. Factors such as unreasonable behaviour, adultery, separation or desertion provide the facts for the case.

Pre-Conditions are the necessary requirements that a married couple must fulfil before they are allowed to file for divorce.

At Least 3 Years of Marriage

To qualify for a divorce, you will have to be married for a minimum of 3 years. However, if you can prove to the court that you have suffered exceptional hardship, or that your spouse has been exceptionally unreasonable towards you, or any other exceptional personal circumstances that could justify an early divorce, then you should consult a divorce lawyer who can guide you through the process.

Either you or your spouse will also have to be based, or domiciled in Singapore to be able to file for divorce.

Proving Irretrievable Breakdown In The Marriage

In Singapore, there are four facts defined by the law that can prove irretrievable breakdown in the marriage to justify a divorce:

  1. Adultery
  2. Unreasonable Behaviour
  3. Separation
  4. Desertion

Adultery: Most guilty parties would not necessarily admit to committing adultery. However, to justify the divorce, you will need to show evidence to prove it had happened. One way to get this evidence is to hire a private investigator.

Unreasonable Behaviour: The list of what can be defined as unreasonable behaviour may be subjective and vary from person to person. Several examples include, drug or gambling addiction, violence, excessive instances of unjustifiable late nights out, social irresponsibility, etc. This is a non-exhaustive list which is why it’s necessary to speak to a lawyer who can help you based on your personal circumstances.

Separation & Desertion: A couple can be considered Separated if they have lived apart for at least 3 years, and that both parties have agreed to that separation. If one party leaves the other and shows no intention of returning, then that will be considered Desertion.

Both parties will have to show evidence of their respective living arrangements to ensure they are living separately. It is possible to live separately, even under the same roof if you both can maintain separate households. 

If both parties attempt reconciliation, but it doesn’t last more than six months, then that timeline can be counted as part of the separation period.

If the couple have been living apart for at least 4 years, then the consent of the other party is not necessary for the divorce.

For more details and information, especially if you have personal circumstances that are not listed here, you should speak to a divorce lawyer who can guide you.

Engaging a Lawyer

If you are currently in a situation that requires mediation or legal advice, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, high-profile criminal cases – to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

Additional Resource: https://singaporelegaladvice.com/law-articles/what-are-the-grounds-for-getting-a-divorce/

How Do You Prove Separation in a Divorce?

Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation

For a divorce case to proceed in Singapore, you’ll need to prove that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. In an earlier article, we explained various justifications to prove unreasonable behaviour by your spouse. In this article, we will explain what the requirements of separation are.

For a non-contested divorce, 3 years of separation is required and for contested divorce, an additional year.

Legal Definition of Separation

Separation in a legal context may not necessarily mean physical separation. It could also apply to couples who are still living together. Therefore, both parties must show the intent to be apart from each other. 

If one party of the divorce is living overseas because of a work obligation while the spouse remains in Singapore, then even though they are physically separated, the separation in this case was caused by work obligations and not an intent to divorce.

Loss of Consortium  

Consortium in a marriage is the right to companionship and association between each other. In other words, the intimacy and time spent with each other. In most divorce cases, there is a loss or reduction of consortium which leads to separation. 

However, if the couple are physically separated and living far away from each other, but still speak to each other regularly as if they were still together, or do not show any intent to end the marriage, then they will not be considered separated.

The separation will also need to be over a continuous period of time. The court will generally promote attempts at reconciliation and if the couple manage to live with each other again but fail after less than 6 months, they will still be considered separated.

How To Prove Separation While Living Together?

While it may seem impossible, it is actually possible to prove separation while still living together with your spouse. Both parties will need to maintain separate households even if they are living under the same roof. 

The judge will also consider the circumstances of the case including loss of consortium and a breakdown in the marriage while they were living together. 

During this period, both parties will also be expected not to engage in typical spousal duties which can include cleaning and cooking for each other. Both parties will also be expected to maintain separate finances and sleep in different rooms.

Desertion

While separation refers to a mutual agreement between the couple, desertion depends on the deserting party’s frame of mind. It must be shown that the person had the intention to permanently end the marriage. This can apply if one party leaves the house, or if they have separated but one party refuses to resume cohabitation.

The desertion must also occur at least over two consecutive years, and likely to continue longer.

What You Will Need

For an uncontested divorce, you will need to file a formal consent written by your spouse in the Memorandum of Appearance (MOA). 

Your lawyer will help you draft a Deed of Separation, a legally binding document containing the terms and conditions of the couple’s arrangements to live separately. The separation deed consists of two categories of clauses.

  1. The details of the separation such as the date, living arrangements of both parties and an agreement that both parties will live separately.
  2. Financial arrangements between the spouses such as division of matrimonial assets, maintenance terms including children’s living arrangements and access.

A statement of particulars including the date when the couple decided to permanently end the consortium should be provided, including the reasons and intention to live separately. If the couple had been living separately, then proof of their respective residential addresses will be required.

For more details and information, you should speak to a divorce lawyer who can guide you based on your specific circumstances.

Engaging a Lawyer

If you are currently in a situation that requires mediation or legal advice, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, high-profile criminal cases – to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

Additional Resource: https://singaporelegaladvice.com/law-articles/how-to-prove-separation/

Maintenance

Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation

Maintenance is a form of financial support and may be imposed such that one party provides for the other party or their children’s’ living expenses. A Maintenance Order is a court order stating that a divorced or legally separated person must pay his/her former partner a regular sum in order to cover the costs of living.

However, this order isn’t limited to just marriages. A maintenance order may also be imposed for children who are financially capable to provide maintenance for their elderly parents, but choose not to do so due to the strained relationship between them.

  • Who can apply for a Maintenance Order
  • Factors determining whether a maintenance order should be imposed
  • Factors determining the amount of maintenance payable
  • How long will the maintenance order last?
  • What if the other party defaults on maintenance payments?
  • Application for Maintenance Orders at the Family Justice Courts (FJC)
  • Post-Application Process

Who can apply for a Maintenance Order?

Under section 69 of the Women’s Charter, the following persons may apply for a maintenance order:

  • S 69(1): A wife may apply for a maintenance order from her husband if he neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance for her.
  • S 69(1A): An incapacitated husband may apply for a maintenance order from his wife if she neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance for him.
  • S 69(2): A child may apply for a maintenance order from a parent if the parent neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance for the child who is unable to maintain himself.
  • S 69(5): A child who has attained the age of 21 years may apply for a maintenance order from a parent under s 69(2) if
    • The child has a mental or physical disability;
    • The child is or will be serving full-time National Service; or
    • The child is still a full-time student.

Under section 3 of the Maintenance of Parents Act, the following persons may be able to apply for a maintenance order:

  • S 3(1): A person domiciled and resident in Singapore over the age of 60 and who is unable to maintain himself adequately may apply for a maintenance order from his/her children. 
  • S 3(4): A parent is unable to maintain himself if his total or expected income and other financial resources are inadequate to provide him with basic amenities and basic physical needs including shelter, food, medical costs and clothing.
  • S 3(2): The organisation or approved person whose care the parent resides in may apply for a maintenance order from the children to defray the cost of maintaining the parent.
  • S 3(5): A person who is under the age of 60 may apply for a maintenance order from his/her children under s 3(1) if
  1. The parent suffers from a mental or physical illness that prevents him from maintaining or makes it difficult for him to maintain himself; or
  2. The parent has other special reasons for requesting maintenance.

Upon application, the court will consider all the circumstances of the case, including:

  1. Parties’ financial needs;
  2. Parties’ income earning capacity (if any), property and other financial resources;
  3. Whether the party has any physical or mental disability;
  4. Contributions made by each party to the family welfare, including looking after the home or caring for the family, and the conduct of the parties;
  5. Standard of living enjoyed before the neglect or refusal; and
  6. In the case of a child, the manner in which he/she was being, and in which the parties to the marriage expected him/her to be educated or trained.

Factors determining whether a maintenance order should be imposed

Section 69(4) of the Women’s Charter states that the following circumstances are taken into account when determining whether a maintenance order should be imposed:

  1. the financial needs;
  2. the income, earning capacity (if any), property and other financial resources; 
  3. any physical or mental disability; 
  4. the age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
  5. the contributions made by each of the parties to the marriage to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family;
  6. the standard of living enjoyed by the party seeking maintenance before the other party (the other spouse or parent) neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance ;
  7. in the case of a child, the manner in which he was being, and in which the parties to the marriage expected him to be, educated or trained;
  8. the conduct of each of the parties to the marriage, if the conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it.

Section 5(1) of the Maintenance of Parents Act states that a maintenance order may be imposed

  1. when it is just and equitable that the children should provide maintenance for their parent; and
  2. the child, after taking care of his own family needs, is still financially capable of supporting his parent; and
  3. the parent is unable to maintain himself.

Some factors and circumstances that will be taken into consideration in determining whether a maintenance order should be imposed are listed in Section 5(2) of the Maintenance of Parents Act:

  1. the financial needs of the parent, taking into account reasonable expenses for housing and medical costs;
  2. the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources of the parent and the manner in which the parent has spent his savings or dissipated his financial resources;
  3. any physical or mental disability of the parent;
  4. the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources of the children;
  5. the expenses incurred by the child in supporting his spouse or children;
  6. the contributions and provisions, whether financial or otherwise, which the child has made for the maintenance of the parent.

What factors are considered when determining the amount of maintenance payable?

The factors and circumstances considered by the Court are listed in section 114 of the Women’s Charter:

  1. the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources;
  2. the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities;
  3. the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the breakdown of the marriage;
  4. the age of each party;
  5. the duration of the marriage;
  6. any physical or mental disability;
  7. the contributions made by each of the parties to the marriage to the welfare of the family; and
  8. In proceedings for divorce or nullity of marriage, the value to either of the parties to the marriage of any benefit (eg, pension) which, by reason of the dissolution or annulment of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.

Some factors and circumstances considered when determining the amount of maintenance payable under the Maintenance of Parents Act include:

  1. S 5(3) & 5(4): Where the child proves that the parent had abandoned, abused or neglected the child that the parent is seeking maintenance from, the application may be dismissed or the quantum of maintenance may be reduced.
  2. S 5(5): Where there is more than one child that the parent is claiming maintenance from, the amount may be apportioned

If, and when you do obtain a Maintenance Order, it will state:

  1. The amount of maintenance to be paid;
  2. When it is to be paid;
  3. To whom it is to be paid; and
  4. The method of payment – whether payment is made to the Complainant directly or deposited into the Complainant’s bank account. Payment to a bank account is preferred as there will be evidence of payment.

How long will the maintenance order last?

Section 117 of the Women’s Charter states that the maintenance order will last until 

  1. where the maintenance is unsecured:
    1. either spouse or former spouse dies; or 
    2. when the former spouse remarries. 
  2. where the maintenance is secured:
    1. when the spouse dies; or
    2. when the former spouse dies or remarries.

Where child maintenance is concerned, the maintenance order will last until the child reaches 21 years of age. For children of 21 years or older, a maintenance order will only continue to receive maintenance if it is proven that:

  1. the child has a mental or physical disability;
  2. the child is or will be serving full-time National Service; or
  3. the child is still a full-time student.

Section 7 of the Maintenance of Parents Act states that the maintenance order will last until

  1. where the maintenance is unsecured: either death of the parent or the child he is seeking maintenance from, whichever is earlier; or
    1. Where a maintenance order was made against more than one respondent, the death of one of the respondents will not affect the liability of the rest; 
    2. The parent may apply to reapportion the maintenance amount among the surviving respondents;
  2. where the maintenance is secured: the death of the parent.

What can I do if the other party defaults on payment of maintenance?

Section 71 of the Women’s Charter sets out the enforcement measures that may be imposed on the obliged party should they default on their payment of maintenance. These measures are also applicable to defaulting parties under the Maintenance of Parents Act:

  1. A fine imposed for every breach of the order;
  2. An imprisonment term not exceeding one month for each month’s allowance remaining unpaid (The defaulting party still has to pay for any unpaid maintenance. The court may reduce the amount as it thinks fit);
  3. A garnishee order may be imposed; or
  4. The defaulting party may be ordered to furnish security for against any future default in maintenance payments by means of a bankerʼs guarantee (notwithstanding that the unpaid amount has been paid off in part or in whole);
    1. For an amount not exceeding 3 months of maintenance payable; and
    2. That shall be valid for a period to be determined by the court not exceeding 3 years, starting from the date of order the security is made.
  5. The defaulting party may be ordered to undergo financial counselling or other similar or related programmes if it is in the interests of the parties (notwithstanding that the unpaid amount has been paid off in part or in whole);
  6. Make a community service order requiring the person to perform any unpaid community service for up to 40 hours under the supervision of a community service officer (notwithstanding that the unpaid amount has been paid off in part or in whole).

Application for Maintenance Orders at the Family Justice Courts (FJC)

The Family Justice Court (“FJC”) deals with applications for maintenance orders as well as the enforcement of existing maintenance orders.

Step 1: Submission of documents and information on iFAMS Application

You are encouraged to submit your application in draft and documents online by iFAMS before going down to FJC. Before beginning on your iFAMS application, do ensure that you have your SingPass ID and password.

  1. Login to iFAMS (https://ifams.gov.sg/sop/#iFAMS) and click “Maintenance Order Application”
  2. Proceed to fill in the online form.
  3. Save your work and choose whether you wish to verify your application and documents at the Court or at an authorised agency. 

Step 2: Verify the relevant documentations to FJC

When you go down to FJC, do ensure that you bring along the following documents and identification:

  • Your identity card;
  • Photocopy of your marriage certificate (if applicable);
  • Photocopy of your birth certificate(s) of your child(ren) (if applicable); and
  • Photocopy of the Order of Court for maintenance that you wish to enforce (if applicable).

Step 3: Attending before a Judge

You will appear before a Judge, who will consider your application and may ask you questions on your application. You will have to swear or affirm that the contents of your application and your answers to the Judge are true and correct. 

Complainant and Respondent

The “Complainant” is the person filing the application for the maintenance order while the “Respondent” is the person against whom you are filing the application for the maintenance order.

Post-Application Process

Step 1: Service of Summons

Once your application is ready, the Judge will issue a summons to the Respondent which will contain the date of first mentions of the case. Both the Respondent and the Complainant will be required to attend the first mentions date. 

Step 2: First Mentions 

The complaint will be read at the first mentions. If the Respondent consents to the application and the Court is satisfied, a consent order can be recorded.

Step 3: Mediation

If there is no resolution after the complaint is read, the Court may direct parties to attend a mediation session. After the mediation session, parties will be directed to Family Court No.1 before the Judge. If there is a resolution and the Respondent consents to the application and the Court is satisfied, a consent order can be recorded by the Judge.

Step 4: Hearings

If the mediation session concludes without any resolution, the Judge in Family Court No.1 will give directions for parties to prepare for the parties’ and witnesses’ statements and documents for the hearing. This will usually comprise of

  • the parties’ bank statements; 
  • the parties’ CPF statements, 
  • The parties’ salary slips, 
  • IRAS Notices of Assessment; and 
  • Lists of personal monthly expenses. 

These documents will be exchanged and filed on a later date at Family Court No. 1. Once the Judge is satisfied that all relevant documents are filed and the parties are ready for hearing, a hearing date will be fixed.

Should the parties or any of the witnesses are not conversant with the English Language, they should request for an Interpreter. Each party must also ensure that their witnesses are available to attend the hearing. 

Engaging a Lawyer

If you are currently in a situation that requires mediation or legal advice, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, high-profile criminal cases – to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

Overview of Common Sexual Offences in Singapore (June 2021)

Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation

We have published 6 articles worth of information on the Act 15 of 2019 Amendments to the law, specifically with regards to sexual crime and the protection of minors against such crimes. In this overview article, we will summarise these laws, sorted by the types of offence, as well as their respective penalties.

  • Overview
  • Assault or criminal force to outrage modesty
  • Rape
  • Sexual assault Involving penetration
  • Words or gestures
  • Voyeurism
  • Distribution of voyeuristic images
  • Possession of voyeuristic images
  • Sexual exposure
  • The Protection From Harassment Act
  • Physical sexual harassment

It is important to first make a police report, and seek clarification from a lawyer if you have recently experienced any of these offences. 

Overview of offences

OffenceStatutePenalties
Assault or use of criminal force to a person with intent to outrage modestySection 354 of the Penal CodeImprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years; OR with fine; OR with caning; OR with any combination of such punishments
RapeSection 375 of the Penal CodeImprisonment for a term which may extend to 20 years; AND shall also be liable to fine; OR to caning
Sexual assault involving penetrationSection 376 of the Penal CodeImprisonment for a term which may extend to 20 years; AND shall also be liable to fine; OR to caning
Word or gesture intended to insult modesty of any personSection 377BA of the Penal CodeImprisonment for a term which may extend to one year; OR with fine; OR with both.
VoyeurismSection 377BB of the Penal CodeImprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years; OR with fine; OR with caning; OR with any combination of such punishments
Distribution of voyeuristic images or recordingsSection 377BC of the Penal CodeImprisonment for a term which may extend to 5 years; OR with fine; OR with caning; OR any combination of such punishments
Possession of or gaining access to voyeuristic or intimate images or recordingsSection 377BD of the Penal CodeImprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years; OR with fine; OR with both
Distributing or threatening to distribute intimate images or recordings Section 377BE of the Penal CodeImprisonment for a term which may extend to 5 years; OR with fine; OR with caning; OR with any combination of such punishments
Sexual exposureSection 377BF of the Penal CodeImprisonment for a term which may extend to one year; OR with fine; OR with both
Non-physical sexual harassmentSection 3 of the Protection from Harassment Act


Section 4 of the Protection from Harassment Act
A fine not exceeding $5,000; OR an imprisonment term not exceeding 6 months; OR both.
A fine not exceeding $5,000
Physical sexual harassment: unlawful stalkingSection 7 of the Protection from Harassment ActA fine not exceeding $5,000; OR to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months; OR both

Section 354: Assault or criminal use of force with intent to outrage modesty

Section 354 of the Penal Code criminalises the intent of outraging the modesty of another person with criminal force. Most cases that fall under this section typically involve acts of molestation. Past cases involving upskirt photography/videography were prosecuted under this section but with the new amendments, those offences are now covered in 377BB of the Penal Code. 

Under this section, the accused must:

  1. Have intended to outrage the modesty of the victim; or
  2. Have knowledge that his/her conduct will lead to the outage of modesty of the victim.

Should the accused be prosecuted under this section successfully, the court may impose: 

  1. an imprisonment term up to 2 years; OR 
  2. with fine; OR 
  3. with caning; OR 
  4. any combination of such punishment. 

Section 375: Rape

Men and women can both be victims of rape. However this section applies to men because it specifically mentions penile penetration. 

In order for a case under this section to succeed, the accused must have:

  1. Penetrated the vagina, anus or mouth of another person without that person’s consent.

Should the accused be prosecuted under this section successfully, the court may impose:

  1. an imprisonment term up to 20 years; AND 
  2. be liable to 
    1. a fine; OR 
    2. caning.

If the victim was under 14 years of age, any penetration will automatically be considered rape.

Section 376: Sexual assault involving penetration 

This section covers the offences where any person:

  1. sexually penetrates the vagina or anus of another person with a part of their body (other than the penis) or an object, without the other person’s consent;
  2. causes a man to penetrate the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with his penis without his consent; or
  3. causes another person, to sexually penetrate the vagina or anus of another person with a part of their body (other than the penis) or an object, without the other person’s consent,

While only men can be charged under section 375 of the Penal Code for rape, section 376 allows for the prosecution of women. 

A person guilty of an offence under section 376 shall be punished with:

  1. an imprisonment term which may extend to 20 years, AND 
  2. shall also be liable to 
    1. a fine; OR 
    2. caning.

Section 377BA: Words or gestures intended to insult the modesty of any person

This section is also a gender-neutral version of the pre-amendment section 509 of the Penal Code. 

According to this section: 

  1. any person who utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, 
  2. intending that 
    1. such word or sound will be heard, or 
    2. that such gesture or object will be 
      1. seen by such person, or 
      2. intrudes upon the privacy of such person.

Punishments if found guilty of an offence: 

  1. an imprisonment term up to one year; OR 
  2. with fine; OR 
  3. with both

This section has been applied in newer cases, including one involving a man who removed his pants and stroked himself with the intention of being seen by two people. 

Section 377BB: Voyeurism

Voyeurism, an act that has recently gained traction in the local discourse about sexual misconduct since the Monica Baey exposé, will now be punishable under section 377BB. 

Anyone can be a victim of voyeurism. In the past, perpetrators, whose victims were men, could not be punished under section 509 of the Penal Code because the offences were specifically for female victims. The addition of this new section has since broadened the scope of protection to include men. 

This new act applies to offences such as: 

  1. S 377BB(1)(a): intentionally observing another person doing a private act; OR
  2. S 377BB(2)(a): operating equipment with the intention of enabling the accused or another person to observe a third person doing a private act; OR
  3. S 377BB(3)(a): intentionally or knowingly recording another person doing a private act; OR
  4. S 377BB(4)(a): operating equipment with the intention of enabling the accused or another person to observe a third person’s genitals, breast (if the victim is a female) or buttocks (whether exposed or covered) in circumstances where such body parts or underwear would not otherwise be visible; OR
  5. S 377BB(5)(a): intentionally or knowingly recording an image of another person’s genitals, breast (if the victim is a female) or buttocks (whether exposed or covered) in circumstances where such body parts or underwear would not otherwise be visible; OR
  6. S 377BB(6): installing equipment with the intention of enabling the accused or another person to commit an offence under subsection (1), (2), (3), (4) or (5).
  1. The accused must know that the other person did not consent to the acts mentioned.

Punishments under section 377BB: 

  1. an imprisonment term which may extend to 2 years; OR 
  2. with fine; OR 
  3. with caning; OR 
  4. with any combination of such punishments.

Section 377BC: Distribution of voyeuristic images or recordings

Under this section, offences include: 

  1. intentionally or knowingly distributing or has in possession, an image or recording of another person without that person’s consent to the distribution;
  2. knowing or having reason to believe that the image or recording was obtained through voyeurism; and
  3. knows or has reason to believe that the other person does not consent to the distribution.

Punishment if found guilty:

  1. an imprisonment term which may extend to 5 years; OR 
  2. with fine; OR 
  3. with caning; OR
  4. any combination of such punishments

Section 377BD: Possession of voyeuristic or intimate images and recordings

This section covers offences where the accused has:

  1. gained access to an image or recording of another person; and
  2. has knowledge that the image or recording was obtained through voyeurism; or
  3. has knowledge that 
    1. the image or recording is an intimate image or recording as defined in section 377BE(5);
    2. the possession of, or access to the image or recording was without the consent of the person depicted in the image or recording; and
    3. the possession of or access to the image or recording will or is likely to cause humiliation, alarm or distress to the person depicted in the image or recording.

If found guilty of an offence under section 377BD, the punishment will be:

  1. an imprisonment term which may extend to 2 years; OR 
  2. with fine; OR
  3. with both.

Section 377BE: Distributing or threatening to distribute intimate images

As information technology gets more invasive and intrusive, non-consensual pornography has been on the rise as a result. The most prominent example being the SG Nasi Lemak Telegram chat group, in which 44,000 group members shared hundreds of obscene photos and videos of women. Many of such images and recordings, some of which are also known as revenge porn, were obtained through voyeuristic means. With the 2019 Criminal Law Reform Act, this new section serves to tackle this problem.

There are three elements to an offence under section 377BE

  1. The offender must have intentionally or knowingly distributed or threatened to distribute an intimate image or recording of another person;
  2. Without that person’s consent; and
  3. With knowledge that the distribution will or is likely to cause the other person humiliation, alarm or distress.

An intimate image is a recording of the genitals, anal region or breasts of the victim, or a recording of the victim doing a private act. Images and recordings that have been altered or edited to appear like an intimate image are also considered as such.

If found guilty, the punishment will be:

  1. an imprisonment term which may extend to 5 years; OR
  2. with fine; OR 
  3. with caning; OR 
  4. with any combination of such punishments

Section 377BF: Sexual Exposure (Flashing)

This section prosecutes the act of exposing one’s genitals to another person, commonly known as flashing. This law applies to any person who:

  1. for the purposes of obtaining sexual gratification or of causing another person humiliation, alarm or distress, 
    1. S 377BF(1)(a): intentionally exposes his/her genitals; OR
    2. S 377BF(2)(a): intentionally distributes to the other person an image of his/her own or any other person’s genitals;
  2. intends that the other person will see his/her genitals; AND
  3. does so without the other person’s consent.

A person guilty of an offence under section 377BF shall be punished with 

  1. an imprisonment term which may extend to one year; OR 
  2. with fine; OR 
  3. with both.

The Protection From Harassment Act: Non-physical sexual harassment

Sexual harassment can come in both physical and non-physical forms. Perpetrators of non-physical sexual harassment may now be liable under sections 3 and 4 of the Protection from Harassment Act.

Under Section 3, the offender must have intended to harass, alarm or cause distress to the victim through threats, abuse or insult, and did in fact take action by causing harassment, alarm or distress.

If found guilty under this section, the punishment is:

  1. a fine not exceeding $5,000; OR 
  2. imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months; OR 
  3. both.

For section 4, the offender must have used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour which is perceived by the victim as harassment or causing alarm, or distress.

The punishment for an offence under section 4 of the Protection from Harassment Act will be a fine not exceeding $5,000. 

The Protection From Harassment Act: Physical Sexual Harassment – Unlawful stalking

Under section 7 of the Protection from Harassment Act, the offender must have

  1. Unlawfully stalked the victim whether through acts or omissions;
  2. Caused the victim harassment, alarm or distress; and
  3. It was done with
    1. the intention of causing harassment, alarm or distress to that person; or
    2. knowledge that such an act would cause harassment, alarm or distress to that person.

A person guilty of an offence under section 7 of the Protection from Harassment Act shall be punished with

  1. a fine not exceeding $5,000; or
  2. an imprisonment term not exceeding 12 months; or 
  3. Both.

Engaging a Lawyer

If you are currently in a situation that requires mediation or legal advice, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, high-profile criminal cases – to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.