I’m not in the slightest bit sorry that Justice V K Rajah raised the Swiss vandal’s jail sentence from five to seven months.
After all nobody forced Oliver Fricker to commit vandalism, right? It’s not a rite of passage for tourists to Singapore. Or professional pass holders. So what’s his excuse? Lapse of judgement? Spur of the moment?
And not any vandalism either. He broke into an SMRT depot to commit vandalism. So, he tested and found a security lapse. Shame on SMRT. Give the man a medal?
Did anyone reward those who found security lapses around the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre? Perhaps those who believe that Fricker did SMRT and Singapore a service should make similar representation to the US and see what sort of a democratic retort they would get!
I endorse every word said by Justice Rajah reported by Channel News Asia (below)! Well done judge!
Swiss vandal Fricker’s jail term extended to 7 months
Swiss vandal Oliver Fricker has been slapped with two more months in jail for a total of seven months.
This came after the Prosecution fought for a heavier sentence against Fricker for trespassing into the SMRT Changi Depot.
The 32-year-old also vandalised two train carriages.
For breaking into a secured area and vandalising a train, Fricker was sentenced to five months’ jail and three strokes of the cane in June.
The caning sentence remains.
The additional two months meted out today by the High Court are for trespassing.
Explaining his decision, Justice VK Rajah said foreigners in Singapore are accorded many rights, privileges as well as courtesies by law.
In return, they must respect and observe the law.
He said: “If and when foreigners contravene any laws, they cannot expect or claim special privileges or exemptions on the basis of their nationality or status as a foreigner.”
And while the “laws of Singapore proscribing vandalising are indeed severe”, Justice Rajah said these are the very laws that are largely “responsible for a clean and graffiti-free environment” as well as a low incidence of crime involving damage to public property and services.”
The Judge noted that Fricker knew that vandalism attracts stiff punishment in Singapore.
He said the act cannot be considered a “momentary lapse of judgement” because Fricker was involved in the planning process with an alleged accomplice, Briton, Dane Alexandra Lloyd.
The Judge noted that Fricker had cut through a fence surrounding a protected place to commit an act which was meant to bring about “instant international notoriety”.
And this must be “unequivocally deplored” while like-minded offenders must be deterred from copycat offending.
He said: “After they committed the offences, they were immensely pleased with themselves. Proud of their handiwork, they took a number of photographs and they went off together to Hong Kong for a planned holiday before the Accused returned to Singapore.
The judge said “it is conduct which is entirely unacceptable in Singapore, regardless of the artistic merit, or lack thereof, of the graffiti”.
Justice Rajah said had the Prosecution appealed against the sentence for the graffiti charge, he would have handed out a stiffer penalty.
So, Fricker should “count himself fortunate that he has not received his just desserts in full”.
In court, Fricker was clean-cut, shaven head and dressed in prison overalls.
For most parts, he was expressionless when the judgement was delivered but there were times when he looked down and shook his head disapprovingly, especially when the Judge spoke of how his act of vandalism was planned and that he had done so to gain international fame.
Fricker’s lawyer said his client was disappointed.
Defence Lawyer Derek Kang said: “In particular, the view of the court that he had done this to gain international notoriety, that is simply not the case. This was never meant to be some kind of publicity stunt.
“When he and the accomplice went inside the train depot, they had no idea and they could not tell at all whether the train was even working because it’s a storage and maintenance depot and furthermore, there was no way they could even tell whether it was going to run or was scheduled to run in the next couple of days.
“They also expected that the train staff would have spotted what they had sprayed anyway before the train left the depot, and cleaned it up. It’s quite a heavy price my client has to pay for what was essentially a single foolish act that he decided upon in the afternoon before he and the accomplice went to commit the act but he’s taking this maturely and he just wants to get on with his life”.
On the additional evidence submitted by the Prosecution relating to Fricker’s previous conviction in Switzerland, Justice Rajah said he could not give it much weight due to a lack of details and the fact that the offence was committed 12 years ago when Fricker was just 20 years old.
Fricker has no further right of appeal. – CNA/vm