SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): In committing various sexual offences, including offering cash to a boy below 18 for sexual services, YouTuber Darryl Ian Koshy had capitalised on his status and influence, said the prosecution.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Ying Min, who is seeking a sentence of five to eight months' jail, on Wednesday (Aug 3) said Koshy's offences were highly premeditated, and also brought up a 9min and 34-second video posted by Koshy in January which she said was intended to contextualise his charges.
In response, Koshy's lawyer Johannes Hadi said his client did not intend to challenge court proceedings with the video, but was instead looking to address inaccurate reports and false rumours floating around in the public.
He also said psychiatric reports on his client - who was not diagnosed with pedophilic disorder - showed that he was remorseful and had low prospects of re-offending, and urged the court to sentence him to two and a half months' jail.
Better known as Dee Kosh, the 33-year-old Koshy, who is famous for making parody music videos and for his stand-up comedy, had pleaded guilty in May to one charge of offering cash to a minor for sexual services and another charge under the Children and Young Persons Act for the attempted sexual exploitation of a young person.
He also pleaded guilty to a charge under the Films Act for making an obscene film. He had filmed himself in 2016 or 2017 engaging in sex acts with a man aged between 23 and 25.
Four other charges will be taken into consideration during his sentencing, which is expected to be on Friday (Aug 5).
In court on Wednesday, DPP Lim said Koshy had deliberately sought out minors and was persistent.
"The accused used and capitalised on his status as a radio presenter and influencer to lure the victims," she said.
Referring to the video, DPP Lim said that apart from being sub judice, elements of it were attempts to couch his wrongdoing as mistaken assumption.
She said Koshy was misleading the public to think that he did not know one of these victims was below 18 years old and also took issue with him saying that he was unaware that the legal age for commercial sex was 18.
"When seen in this light, his apologies (in the video) are qualified and cannot be seen as a true sign of remorse," said the DPP.
DPP Lim had said previously that while shooting a video on Feb 14, 2017, Koshy approached a 16-year-old boy outside a department store in Orchard Road.
Later, through the boy's friend, Koshy found his number and contacted him, asking for his age and the boy said he was 17.
Eventually, Koshy proposed performing a sex act on the boy, offering him S$400, and when the boy declined, Koshy increased the amount to S$800, S$1,000 and eventually S$2,000. The boy rejected the offers.
On March 6, 2018, Koshy messaged a 15-year-old boy using his verified Instagram account and asked the boy if he was 15. The victim confirmed his age.
Moving the conversation to messaging service Telegram, Koshy offered the boy S$100 to S$250 to perform a sex act on him.
Over four months, Koshy made four sexual offers to the victim. He also offered to fetch the boy to his house so that the sex act could be performed.
Although the boy did not cease communications with Koshy immediately out of fear of offending him, he eventually stopped talking to him. He did not agree to Koshy's requests for sexual services.
On Aug 15, 2020, a 21-year-old man - not one of Koshy's prior three targets - posted on his Instagram page that he had been sexually harassed by Koshy.
Shortly after, more victims came forward and shared their encounters with the accused on social media.
Koshy was arrested by police officers on Oct 5, 2020, at his home. Thirty-one obscene videos were found in the devices seized.
For offering cash to a youngster below 18 in exchange for sexual services, he can be jailed for up to two years and fined.
For the attempted sexual exploitation of a young person, he can be jailed for up to five years, fined up to S$10,000, or both under the Children and Young Persons Act.