SINGAPORE: A former Singapore Airlines (SIA) pilot was found guilty on Monday (Aug 26) of forwarding a photo of a dead maid which he had received from his paramedic girlfriend.
Fazli Hisham Mohd Fairuz Shah, 29, had claimed trial to two offences under the Official Secrets Act (OSA). One of the charges is linked to a second related photo of a document taken by his girlfriend Nurizzah Afiqah Hussain.
Nurizzah worked for private ambulance operator Unistrong Technology, which did outsourced work from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
She was at the scene of the death on Feb 1, 2017. The domestic helper, whose identity is protected by gag order, had hung herself from a fan.
Nurizzah shone a torchlight on the woman while an ambulance driver took a photo of the body with his mobile phone.
After receiving the photo in her group chat, Nurizzah forwarded it to her boyfriend Fazli, along with a photo she had taken of a document stating "Maid hung herself on the fan".
Fazli sent the two photos to yet another chat group, which had 31 members made up of his friends and acquaintances.
PHOTOS FORWARDED TO MAIDS, POSTED ONLINE
The two pictures were forwarded to other maids in Singapore and began circulating on social media after one of the maids posted them on her Facebook account.
The issue at the heart of the trial was whether Fazli knew he had obtained the photos in contravention of the OSA. District Judge Luke Tan said he was satisfied that Fazli would have known this, or would have reason to believe that the photos were confidential.
He said the claim of ignorance was "unbelievable", and that Fazli had said in a statement that he shared the photos with no vicious intent, and had not denied that he obtained them from his girlfriend.
The prosecution had argued that Fazli's defence of being completely ignorant of his girlfriend's work was inconsistent with his National Service background as a section commander in SCDF's Special Rescue Platoon.
He was also an SIA pilot at the time of the offence up until July 2017, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Zu Zhao.
"From his performance on the stand, the accused clearly demonstrated himself to be an intelligent and articulate person," said the prosecutor.
"In addition, as a pilot, his description of the rigours of his training and what he did during his time at Singapore Airlines makes it clear that he is used to functioning in situations of fatigue and high pressure."
This was in contrast to his claim of being "confused" and "tired" during statement recording, said the prosecution.
The ambulance driver, Shaik Haziq Fahmi Shaik Nasair Johar, was fined S$1,500 last September, while Nurizzah was fined S$3,000 in August last year.
Fazli will return to court on Sep 2 for mitigation and sentencing.
For each charge under the OSA, he could be jailed for up to two years and fined a maximum of S$2,000.