Casting couch sex assault earns 15-month jail term

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 August, 2005, 12:00am

An aspiring filmmaker was jailed for 15 months yesterday for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old model two years ago after luring her to his flat under the pretext of an audition.

Eastern Court Magistrate Bina Chainrai said Issac-Theodore Ismail, who enticed girls with dreams of stardom to audition for a movie that did not exist, had shown no remorse over his conviction.

Ismail, 30, was convicted of one count of indecent assault last month. He had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Ms Chainrai said Ismail asked the girl, then a Form Five student, to come to his Mid-Levels flat for an audition on December 5, 2003. There, he 'touched her in an intimate way for a period of time'.

Ismail was introduced to the girl through a modelling agency after saying he needed young female models to audition for a movie purportedly directed by noted filmmaker Stanley Kwan Kam-pang.

Kwan, a prosecution witness, said he had met Ismail a few times, but had never authorised him to carry out auditions.

Ms Chainrai yesterday rejected an application by defence lawyer Kevin Egan for his client to be released on bail pending an appeal against his conviction.

Mr Egan said in mitigation that Ismail, who was educated in Australia and Canada, was an aspiring, or 'wannabe', filmmaker. He said Ismail was an idealistic and naive young man, who had become carried away.

The magistrate also rejected Mr Egan's appeal for a probation order against Ismail, rather than imprisonment.

Mr Egan told the magistrate that 'prison is reserved for bad guys ... hard-headed criminals'. He argued that a probation order was not a 'soft option', but rather a community-based sentence.

He noted that a probation officer would have 'control' over Ismail's behaviour, and reminded the court that the victim was not traumatised by the incident.