Following a “careful” review, the Public Prosecutor has decided not to appeal against the four-year jail term imposed on convicted sexual predator Joshua Robinson last week, noting that the punishment he got was broadly in line with relevant past cases’.
In a statement on Wednesday (March 8), the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) added that while some have called for caning to be imposed on Robinson, the offences he was charged with did not allow the court to do so.
The AGC also said: “In discharging our duties, we do not differentiate between Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans.”
The American mixed-martial arts instructor was sentenced to four years’ jail last week for a myriad offences, ranging from sexual penetration of two 15-year-olds to showing an obscene film to a six-year-old girl.
Following his sentencing, the case attracted widespread public attention, with many questioning why Robinson was not punished more severely – including an online petition being started on Sunday calling for a harsher sentence. More than 26,000 people, including the father of the six-year-old girl affected, have signed the petition, as of Wednesday afternoon.
In 2015, Robinson contacted a 15-year-old girl through social media repeatedly, and exchanged numbers with her. He instructed the girl to wear her school uniform during their first meeting, where they went to his apartment along Upper Circular Road. There, he filmed them engaging in sexual acts.
After the girl made a police report, the police found 5,902 obscene films in Robinson’s apartment, of which 321 featured child pornography – the largest stash found on an individual. The children in these videos were between the ages of two and 16.
In its statement, the AGC said that by getting Robinson, 39, to plead guilty instead of claim trial, his three young victims were spared the ordeal of having to testify in court.
It had asked for four to five years’ jail to be imposed, after taking 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”.
The AGC also addressed public comments that Robinson should have been charged with rape, statutory rape or outrage of modesty, and be subject to caning. It explained that statutory rape only applies to victims who have not turned 14, which was not the case in Robinson’s offences. And because both girls had consented to these sexual acts, an offence of rape could not be pressed against Robinson.
The most serious offence that Robinson had committed was sexual penetration of a minor under 16 years old, and that did not provide for caning, the AGC added.
AGC said that it would be discussing with the Ministry of Law whether the relevant legislation should be reviewed to enhance sentencing for some of the offences.