A man was arrested for taking upskirt photos in April 2013, but he was only charged in court in September last year and convicted in Feb 2016, almost three years after his arrest. And the reason for the long delay between arrest and conviction? The phone the man had used to take the photos had run out of battery. The police therefore couldn’t retrieve the photos and videos taken from the phone. It took the police two years to find the right charging cable for the phone.
Yes, the phone is an old model and the cable was no longer readily available on the market in Singapore. But to need two years to find a way to access the memory on the phone? Couldn’t the police have found other ways? Ways that wouldn’t result in delaying justice for three years?
For whatever reasons, our police just couldn’t have worked any faster. For whatever reasons, our police couldn’t have thought of any other means to access the data on the phone without the cable. As a result, the victims of this man didn’t get the justice they deserved until three years later. As a result, the perpetrator of the crime only received his just punishment three years later.
The man would have lived the last two years worrying about his fate. The psychological stress of having an outstanding police case against you is immense. Some might say that he deserved that. And you would be wrong. He deserved whatever the court sentenced him to. That is the just punishment he deserved. After he served that sentence, he would have paid whatever debt he owed society. The victims would have gotten their justice.
Anything more than that is unjust punishment. And no one, not the victims, not the police, no one has the right to mete out any punishment other than what the court had given out. But because the police took so long to finish up their investigations, the police had delayed justice. They had punished the man beyond what the court deemed fit. How is that justice?
Justice delayed is justice denied. The police has a duty not only to arrest suspects, but to uncover the truth behind the crime expeditiously so that the victims and the suspect receive the justice they deserve. I hope that the police would study what they could have done better in this case so that, they wouldn’t delay the proper course of justice in other cases.