A 38-year old male teacher who was convicted of having oral sex with a minor (a 14-year-old boy) has successfully appealed against his original sentence of 25-months’ imprisonment.
Paul Tan Sze Aik had faced a total of five charges and pleaded guilty to two charges of committing an obscene act with a young person and one charge of having sex with a minor under 16 whilst the remaining three other charges were taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing.
The High Court allowed Tan’s appeal and reduced his sentence to 12-months’ imprisonment after considering that there were no aggravating factors in the case such as evidence that the man abused any position of authority or that he had pressured, threatened, coerced or acted violently towards the victim.
Importantly, the High Court commented that the offender in this case should not be punished more severely compared to other similar cases.
In addition, the High Court took the view that the offence was not made worse by the age-gap between the offender and the victim (because older offenders have been sentenced to comparatively shorter imprisonment terms in other cases) and the fact that the man had used the Internet to identify and contact the victim (because there was nothing to suggest that the offender used the Internet to lure the victim for sexual activities).
Although Tan had been represented by a criminal defence lawyer when he pleaded guilty in the State Courts, he chose to represent himself at the Magistrate’s Appeal.
More information on the case may be found here and here.