SINGAPORE – A man accused of trespassing into the premises of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary last year and defacing a statue of Mary was acquitted of all charges in a district court on Monday (Jan 11).
Race Koh Jun Xian, now 38, was handed a discharge amounting to an acquittal, which means he cannot be charged again with the same offences.
The State Courts online portal did not disclose reasons behind his acquittal.
Koh was charged on Nov 20 last year with one count of each of criminal trespass and defiling a place of worship with intent to insult a religion.
He had earlier told the court: “I did not do this intentionally. I was sincere in wanting to pray to Mother Mary. I wanted to beautify her, I did not know this was an offence.”
He was then ordered to be remanded at the Institute of Mental Health.
According to court documents, the church was closed to the public at the time of the offence on Nov 12 last year because of renovation works.
Police received a report that same day that the statue in the courtyard of the Catholic church in Upper Serangoon Road had been defaced.
Koh was identified after officers from Ang Mo Kio Police Division conducted ground investigations and viewed footage from closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.
In a Facebook post last year, the church said that the statue, a gift from Sultan Ibrahim of Johor more than 70 years ago, has been restored.
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