Legal update: Ex-lover jailed for posting explicit video in revenge of breakup231月2018
In a recent District Court case (HKSAR v Wong Ngai Sang), a 23-year-old male was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment for posting secretly filmed sexual footage of himself and his ex-lover onto the internet.
The defendant and the victim, Miss X, met at work and became lovers soon after. Twelve months later, Miss X decided to end the relationship even though the defendant did not want to. Miss X also refused his request of getting back together.
It turned out that the defendant had secretly taped sexual acts of himself and Miss X with his phone. Miss X only learnt of the existence of such video a month after they broke up, when a colleague told her about it. The video, which lasts over 17 minutes, showed sexually explicit acts between Miss X and the defendant. The caption of the video carries the name of the victim and the housing estate where she lives.
Miss X immediately reported the matter to the police. Upon his arrest, the defendant told the police that the video was filmed without Miss X’s consent, and that the breakup made him angry, so he uploaded the video in revenge for it.
The defendant pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining access to a computer with a view to dishonest gain for himself, contrary to section 161(1)(c) of the Crimes Ordinance.
In mitigation, Counsel stressed that the defendant was extremely remorseful for what he had done, and was fully frank with the police when he was arrested. The defendant also realised he had done irreparable damage and apologised to the victim. He was prepared to do prison time. The defendant also submitted four letters to the Court from his family and work pleading leniency.
The Court found that the defendant violated the victim’s right to privacy by secretly taping their sexual activities, and that although the defendant did not threaten Miss X in any way, the end result was equally bad, if not worse as the video was on the internet and it was not difficult to imagine the kind of distress or embarrassment the victim would find herself in, and the damage could not be undone.
The Court also found that the defendant grossly violated the victim’s privacy and the Court viewed such matters very seriously. Given the technology in today’s world, it is easy for anyone to get access to computers and the internet. Someone who posts such sexually explicit videos could easily violate another’s privacy with devastating consequence to the victim.
In sentencing, the Court held that the sentence should carry sufficient deterrence in order to reflect the public’s abhorrence of the defendant’s conduct and to deter others from acting similarly. The offence carries a maximum term of 5 years. Given the facts of the case, the Judge took 30 months as starting point, and given the guilty plea, the usual 1/3 discount was given to the defendant, and he was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment.
The above is not intended to be relied on as legal advice and specific legal advice should be sought at all times in relation to the above.
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