Senior Counsel Harpreet Singh Nehal's best shot to stave off jail time was that Section 376b of the Penal Code was intended for sexual predators who deliberately target minors. Not guys who are misled by an online pimp and his stable of underaged whores. But he was on precarious ground when he argued that the girl's "physical attributes" are "solid grounds" for his client to be led to an "honest and reasonable mistake". Ignorance in the eyes of the law has never been an acceptable excuse.
Judge See Keen Oon has his hands tied too, he has already sent one clean cut solid citizen, elementary school principal Lee, to 9 weeks' jail for the same offence. In doing so, he has set a precedent for the rest of the 48 charged so far. It's awkward to dwell on mitigating arguments when the stink from the Woffles Wu decision is still in the air.
Explaining his view on the jury system to BBC in 1977, Lee Kuan Yew said his defence of 4 murderers "using simple tricks of advocacy - contradictions between between one witness and another, contradiction between a witness and his previous statement to the police and the preliminary enquiry" made him sick after his clients were acquitted.
"I decided when we became the government, we will not allow this foolish, completely incongrous system which will never take root here, because no juror will take upon himself the onus of saying, 'Yes, he will go to jail'."
Doubtless, there will be lawyers who have differing thoughts about the subject. David Marshall did, and his outrage on the abolishment of the jury system in 1969 still resounds, "The last nail has been driven into the coffin of justice". He also said during an interview in 1994, "For me, the punishment must not fit the crime, the punishment must fit the criminal and the punishment must fit the needs of society." Too bad he's no longer around, his holistic approach sounds more humane.