No appeal against sentence in underage sex case of Joshua Robinson

Robinson's sentence last Thursday had led to calls for harsher sentences for pedophiles in Singapore

The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) will not be appealing against mixed martial arts instructor Joshua Robinson’s four-year jail term, it said on Wednesday (March 8).

The announcement comes after Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam noted “public disquiet” over the incident on Monday and said that it was looking into the case.

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The 39-year-old instructor had pleaded guilty to making obscene films, having consensual sex with two 15-year-old girls and showing an obscene clip to a six-year-old girl.

Read – MMA instructor jailed 4 years for sexually assaulting 2 teenage girls

Robinson’s sentence last Thursday had prompted much discussion, with an online petition attracting over 26,000 signatures to date. It called the sentence ” unacceptable and absolutely intolerable”.

In a statement, the AGC gave the reasons for its decision not to appeal the sentence.

It said that the prosecution had sought a total sentence of four to five years’ imprisonment and this was made known to the defence counsel and to the District Court at a pre-trial conference in September 2016.

The prosecution’s sentencing position was conveyed to Robinson before he made his decision in December 2016 to plead guilty. In arriving at this sentencing position, the prosecution took into account, among other things, the fact that by securing a guilty plea, the three young victims would be spared the trauma of having to testify and be cross-examined in a trial.

In its statement, the AGC noted that Robinson had not committed “sexual assault”. His offences were not statutory rape as two of his victims were aged above 14 when the acts were committed.

As the girls also consented to the sex, this did not come under the offences of rape and outrage of modesty either.

It added that caning is not provided for any of the offences Robinson was charged with, and his sentence was “broadly in line” with relevant precedents.

“There has been public attention to this case, and calls from some members of the public for an appeal against the sentence imposed and for caning to be imposed,” said the AGC.

“Following careful review of the matter, the Public Prosecutor has decided not to appeal against the sentence.”

The AGC said that in discharging its duties, it does not differentiate between Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans.

It will be discussing with the Ministry of Law whether the relevant legislation should be reviewed to enhance sentencing for some of the offences.

-Straits Times

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