Muhammad Yusaffendi bin Mohd Yusoff vs Public Prosecutor

JudgeOng Chin Heng
Judgment Date30 June 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] SGMC 29
Published date19 September 2003
Citation[2001] SGMC 29
CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)



1 On 10 January 2001, the Accused pleaded guilty to the following amended (reduced) charge of simple rioting:

Charge (Exhibit ‘P1A’)

"You, Muhammad Yusaffendi b Mohd Yusoff (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Accused’), M/15 years, NRIC No: S8523211H are charged that you, on the 25th day of March 2001, at about 8.41pm, at the playground of Blk 230, Tampines St 23, together with Muhammad Izwan Shah, M/19 years, Muhammad Nasar Bin Jaafar Sidek, M/15 years, Zulkarnaen bin Mohd Shukor, M/15 years, Muhammad Nazreen Bin Mohamed Nasir, M/15 years, Muhammad Idham Bin Johari, M/15 years, Muhammad Faizal Bin Alias, M/13 years, and Nor Izman Shah Bin Ismail, M/18 years, were members of an unlawful assembly whose common object was to cause hurt to one Krishna s/o Esvarna, M/16 years old, in the prosecution of the common object of such assembly, you or a member thereof used violence, and you have thereby by virtue of Section 146 of the Penal Code, committed an offence of rioting punishable under Section 147 of the Penal Code Chapter 224."

2 The Accused admitted to the Statement of Facts (Exhibit ‘A’) without qualification. The essential points are as follows:

  1. On 25 March 2001 at about 4.00pm, the Accused met up with his 7 accomplices:
    1. Muhammad Izwan Shah, M/19 years,
    2. Muhammad Nasar Bin Jaafar Sidek, M/15 years,
    3. Zulkarnaen bin Mohd Shukor, M/15 years,
    4. Muhammad Nazreen Bin Mohamed Nasir, M/15 years,
    5. Muhammad Idham Bin Johari, M/15 years,
    6. Muhammad Faizal Bin Alias, M/13 years, and
    7. Nor Izman Shah Bin Ismail, M/18 years

before proceeding to Blk 220 Tampines St 21. There, various weapons, consisting of knives and chains, were distributed. All of them then walked towards Blk 230 Tampines St 23.

  1. Upon arriving at Blk 230 Tampines St 23, they spotted and confronted the victim. The Accused kicked the victim from behind. A scuffle ensued, and the victim was stabbed. The Accused and his accomplices then fled the scene. The victim suffered from a 2cm stab wound on his back at the midline with bleeding. He was hypotensive and required a blood transfusion. He was warded in hospital for 2 days.
  2. The background to this incident gleaned from investigations, was that the Accused had had a misunderstanding with the victim sometime in January 2001 over some staring incidents. The Accused had brought this up to the first-named accomplice (B1), Muhammad Izwan Shah, who was the headman of the gang (known as ‘010’). B1 then rounded up the gang to teach the victim a lesson, resulting in the chain of events described above.

3. Based on the Accused’s guilty plea and unqualified admission to the Statement of Facts, the Court accordingly found him guilty of the charge on 26 April 2001. In mitigation, the Accused is a first time offender, who claimed that he was still in school and asked for probation to be granted. On his behalf, the Accused’s mother urged the Court to impose a lighter sentence and stated that the Accused would listen to her from now on. His step-father also asked the Court to be lenient. The Accused was released on bail to the care of his mother. The matter was adjourned to 29 May 2001 for the pre-sentence report on the Accused to be prepared.

4. On 29 May 2001, the Accused was present in court, together with his mother and step-father. The Court, in consultation with the Panel of Advisers, considered the probation report, together with other mitigating and aggravating factors, in coming to its conclusion.

Pre-Sentence Report

5 The Probation Officer, Mr Intherarasa Appudurai, assessed that the Accused was not suitable for probation, having considered the following risk factors as well as the Accused’s needs:

    1. The ineffective supervision rendered by the Accused’s parents due to their being away from home for the major part of the day;
    2. The Accused’s lack of positive response even to his mother’s stepping-up of control and imposition of disciplinary measures;
    3. The Accused’s need for a stricter, more regimented environment, and possible ancillary need for religious guidance;
    4. The Accused’s past conduct and behaviour in school and at home which was poor, and which displayed his propensity to defy authority;
    5. The Accused’s association with negative peers and participation in gang activities; and,
    6. The Accused’s apparent lack of appreciation of the seriousness of his offence in his conduct pending sentence.

The Court’s Decision

6 The Juvenile Court ordered that the Accused be admitted to the Singapore Boys’ Home, an Approved School, for 24 months. The Accused, being dissatisfied with the punishment ordered, has appealed against this order.

7 There were 2 issues to be considered before making the punishment order in this case, as follows:

(A) the type of punishment to impose on the Accused - in particular, whether the Accused ought to be ordered to undergo probation, or ordered to reside in an Approved School; and,

(B) if he was to be sent to an Approved School, which School would be appropriate and for how long.

(A) Type of Punishment

8 Section 28 of the Children and Young Persons Act (Cap 38) requires every court dealing with persons under the age of 16 to "have regard to the welfare of the child or young person" and to take proper steps to remove such persons from his undesirable surroundings as well as secure proper provision for his education and training.

9 Unlike the adult courts, the Juvenile Court, in sentencing the young offender, must do more than impose the sentence commensurate with the gravity of the offence. Its basic guiding principle is to have due regard to the reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration of a juvenile offender back into society. In order to impose the appropriate sentence on the young offender for his effective rehabilitation, the Juvenile Court has to be acutely aware of the individual strengths and limitations of the particular young offender.

10 There must be a balance between public protection and personal accountability on the one hand, as opposed to the legislative concern for the welfare of the young offender on the other. Therefore, elements of deterrence, incapacitation and rehabilitation are all essential in dealing with the complexities of juvenile justice. More importantly, effective family support and other forms of control are necessary to help keep our juveniles out of crime and equip them to lead a law-abiding life in future.

11 In deciding whether an order for probation would have the desired effect of rehabilitating an offender into a self-reliant and useful citizen, and weaning him away from a life-time career in crime, the Court must have regard to section 5(1) of the Probation of Offenders Act (Cap 252), which inter alia provides that:

"Where a court … is of the opinion that having regard to the circumstances, including the nature of the offence and the character of the offender, it is expedient to do so, the court may, instead of sentencing him, make a probation order" (emphasis added)

12 In the case of PP v Muhammad Nuzaihan bin Kamal Luddin [2000] 1 SLR 34, the Hon Yong Pung How CJ further noted that:

"In the case of youthful criminals, the chances of effective rehabilitation are greater than in the case of adults, making the possible use of probation more relevant where young offenders are concerned. Nevertheless … s5(1) of the [Probation of Offenders] Act make[s] it clear that probation is never granted as of right, even in the case of juvenile offenders. In deciding whether or not probation is the appropriate sentence in each case, the court still has to take into account all the circumstances of the case, including the nature of the offence and the character of the offender." (emphasis added)

13 As such, in considering the suitability of any accused for probation, the Court has to take into account all the circumstances of the case, and additionally weigh the risk of further offending against the potential benefit of community-based rehabilitation. To grant probation when there is little or no prospect of it succeeding would be pointless. It would also fail the cost-benefit analysis, resulting in greater time and resources spent in dealing further with the juvenile in court again, should he later breach the strict conditions of the probation order.

14 Taking these various considerations into account, the Panel of Advisers and this Court explored the suitability of committing the Accused to the care of his parents with outside supervision by the probation officer. We also considered the possibility of intensive probation with hostel stay as well as ordering the parents to execute a bond to guarantee their exercise of proper guardianship over the Accused.

15 This Court was mindful that the Accused was a first-time offender, and that he appeared remorseful during the interview with the Probation Officer. The Court also considered the fact that his parents claimed that they would henceforth exercise stricter control over the Accused.

16 There were, however, many risk factors which were a cause for concern and would hinder the Accused’s effective rehabilitation. Having considered all the facts and circumstances, and in particular the nature of...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT