It’s been a while since I blogged. And usually it has to be something that really pissed me off. And yes, it’s the social media justice mob again. And again, they want to convict by petition. They want to see blood because they are angered by fake news and their own sheer lack of understanding of how the law works.
First things first. I think this Nicholas Lim fellow should be given a harsher punishment. There’s nothing more disgusting than filming women in the shower. Even more so when there’s an expectation of security within the university campus. NUS absolutely needs to get its house in order. There have been too many incidents of such a nature and punishments have been too light. These include Nicholas case.
And no, I don’t think he got light punishment because of status. That’s rubbish. If he had “powerful parents”, he wouldn’t be working as an insurance agent. I had a feeling his parents are probably blue collar workers who have now been dragged through the mud through his actions. And I was right! The police statement said that his father is a driver and his mother is a housewife.
The awful people in the mob claiming that he is connected, have no qualms hurting innocent people like Nicholas’s parents in order to push their agenda. I recall the last time the same mob were involved in a molest case, they were taking the opposite action.
If I remember correctly, a young student was caught red handed molesting a 12 year old girl. Because the boy couldn’t take the pressure after being caught, he jumped to his death even though the police had no intention of charging him. That time, the mob went after the victim, unfairly claiming police brutality and said the police and the school should have just let the boy off.
And the social mob went after the molest victim, again falsely claiming, what’s new, that the girl’s parents must be well connected to the ruling party. None of the well known influencers and commentators spoke up for the molest victim then.
Singaporeans are too quick to believe rumors, and now, this NUS boy’s family, who are innocent of any crime, have been doxxed and CSI’ed and sent hate mail and threatening comments on social media. Even his girlfriend has been named.
The laws are such, and if we want there to be more severe punishments for such acts of sexual assault, then yes, let’s start now. In fact, anyone looking closely, would know that laws combating sexual violence in Singapore have been massively strengthened in the last few years.
But we cannot re-prosecute Nicholas Lim. Not based on who the netizens like or dislike. Not based on what the victim alleges on social media. That is not justice.
What worries me now is not the police exercising their discretion. It’s that we are letting the baeying mob dictate punishments.
Prosecutorial discretion is there for a good reason. Would the heaviest punishment suit the crime? Would it be good for society?
Take for example, jaywalking. Do we institute the heaviest punishment for a jaywalker, which is a jail term of 3 months? Of course not! But the mob is demanding that lawyers and judges and policemen should NOT be allowed to exercise their discretion. Does the police have to charge everyone caught with theft or molest, regardless of the circumstances leading to the offence, criminal record, rehabilitation potential, youth, maturity of mind and other compassionate reasons.
If we are agreed on that, let’s change the law. But chances are the police will be charging everyone without compassion and wasting public resources and destroying young lives. Would that be real justice, or just to satisfy the thirst for blood of netizens. The usual liberal suspects. Do we also retroactively change punishment every time someone launches a petition?
That is not rule of law. That is mob justice.
And this is where listening to the baying mob is a bad idea. Emotions run high, rumors are spread and widely believed, and the demand for blood runs rampant. There are good reasons why we have judges and prosecutors who are specialists in their field, not use the jury system.
The mob’s attention will be gone by Thursday. The law stays on in perpetuity.