SINGAPORE — An administrator of a Telegram chat group which shared pornographic images pleaded guilty on Tuesday (4 May) to his charge of circulating obscene images in order to keep his account active.
The court order that a mandatory treatment order (MTO) suitability report be called for Leonard Teo Min Xuan, 27, who has been diagnosed with major depressive disorder.
His lawyer, Ashwin Ganapathy, told the court that Teo had been suffering from the disorder since 2013 or 2014. According to the lawyer, the condition had manifested during the commission of his offences and an Institute of Mental Health (IMH) psychiatrist deemed that it had contributed to the offences.
Teo pleaded guilty to one count each of transmitting obscene material, and of transmitting the material knowing that it could be further circulated. One count of possessing obscene material will be taken into consideration for his sentencing.
Teo was one of the four administrators of SG Nasi Lemak, which was created in November 2018. Members in the group, which swelled to more than 44,000, discussed sexual matters and circulated voyeuristic material as well as promoted vice activities. Of the members, 29 had administrative rights.
In order to remain in chat group, members had to keep their account active by uploading and sharing pornographic material. Teo also did so to keep his account active.
On 15 March 2019 and 3 October 2019, the police received 31 reports islandwide about the illicit group for circulating obscene material and promoting vice.
On 14 October 2019, at about 4am, the police conducted an operation and arrested the four administrators simultaneously. Teo was arrested at his Pasir Ris residence, with his electronic devices seized hours later.
The devices were found to have 427 compromising images.
No objection from prosecution
Deputy Public Prosecutor Rashvinpal Kaur said that the prosecution would not be objecting to the calling of an MTO suitability report, but reserved its sentencing position until after it had sight of the report.
If Teo is found suitable for a mandatory treatment order, he will received psychiatric treatment in lieu of jail time.
Ganapathy also agreed to the calling of the report, attaching reports from IMH and Changi General Hospital as part of his submissions.
District Judge Kessler Soh adjourned the sentencing to 3 June.
Teo was one of the four who were charged over the activities in SG Nasi Lemak.
Justin Lee Han Shi, 20, was sentenced to a year's probation term last October, while another 18-year-old, who cannot be named due to his age at the time of the offences, was given a year's probation last December. Liong Tianwei, 39, another administrator of the group, was jailed nine weeks and fined $26,000 in March.
For transmitting obscene objects knowing that they may be further circulated, Teo may be jailed up to three months, or fined, or both. He faces the same penalty for the charge of transmitting or circulating obscene material.
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