Public Prosecutor v AN

CourtJuvenile Court (Singapore)
JudgeMay Lucia Mesenas
Judgment Date13 January 2004
Neutral Citation[2004] SGJC 1
Citation[2004] SGJC 1
Publication Date12 April 2004
Plaintiff CounselAppellant in person
Defendant CounselInspector Zetty

Magistrate May Mesenas:

1 On 15 December 2003, the above male juvenile, aged 13 years and 4 months, pleaded guilty in the Juvenile Court to two charges of rioting and theft respectively. The charges are set out below:

Charge – Exhibit “P1”

”You, AN, (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Juvenile’), male/13 years old, are charged that you, on or about the 18th of October 2003, at about 5.45pm, at the basketball court of Blk 7 Marsiling Drive, Singapore, together with Sharizal Zainal, m/16 yrs, Imadysafrein Bin Effendi, m/16 yrs, A, m/15 yrs, B, m/15 yrs, C, m/13 yrs, D, m/12 yrs, E, m/13 yrs, F, m/13 yrs and G, m/13 yrs, were members of an unlawful assembly whose common object was to cause hurt to H, m/14 yrs and I, m/15 yrs, and in prosecution of the common object of such assembly, one or more of you had used violence, to wit, by fisting and kicking them, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under section 147 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.”

Charge – Exhibit “P2”

“You, AN, (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Juvenile’), male/13 years old, are charged that you, on 18th of October 2003, at or about 5.45pm, at the basketball court of Blk 11 Marsiling Crescent, Singapore, together with G, m/13 yrs, A, m/15 yrs, E, m/13 yrs, C, m/13 yrs, Sharizal Zainal, m/16 yrs, F, m/13 yrs, Imadysafrein Bin Effendi, m/16 yrs, D, m/12 yrs, B, m/15 yrs and J, m/14 yrs, in furtherance of the common intention of you all, did commit theft of a Nokia 3310 mobile phone valued at about ninety-three dollars ($93/-), in the possession of one H, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under section 379 read with section 34 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.”

2 The Juvenile admitted to the Statement of Facts (Exhibit ‘A’) pertaining to both charges, without qualification. The salient points are as follows:

(a) On 18 October 2003 at about 4:30pm, the juvenile and his accomplices met up at Blk 204 Marsiling Drive. While they were there, one of the accomplices, namely Sharizal Zainal (herinafter referred as 'Sharizal') suggested that they look for people to assault as well as steal from them. The juvenile and his accomplices agreed to this plan.

(b) On the same day, at about 5.45pm, the juvenile and his accomplices spotted the two victims, namely, H and I aged, 14 and 15 years respectively at the basketball court of Blk 7 Marsiling Drive. Sharizal approached them and asked if they belonged to a secret society, to which the victims denied.

(c) Thereafter, the Juvenile started to throw punches and kicks at the victims, followed by four of the other co-accuseds, whilst the remaining 5 accomplices stood round the vicinity.

(d) While the two victims were being assaulted, Sharizal also kicked H, which caused the latter’s handphone (valued at $93) to fall out of his trouser pocket where he kept his handphone. Thereafter, Sharizal kicked the handphone to one of the accomplices, namely, C, and told him to pick it up. Subsequently, all of them fled from the place.

(e) One of the co- accused, B, sold the stolen handphone for $20 on the same day. The proceeds of the said sale were then spent on food and cigarettes, by the Juvenile and the accomplices. The police managed to recover the stolen handphone subsequently.

(f) The two victims lodged a police report at the Bukit Panjang NPC at 7.16pm on the same day. They sustained bruises on their face and hands. However, no medical attention was sought.

3 Accordingly, the Juvenile was found guilty of both charges on 15 December 2003. In mitigation, the Juvenile stated that he was sorry and that he would not commit the offence again. His mother stated that she would take care of the Juvenile and hopes that he would change his behaviour. She claimed that he was of good behaviour and followed her instructions. As the parents run a foodstall, the Juvenile and his brother, D, helped out at the stall during the December school holidays. The Juvenile’s father said that he would take care of his son and assured the Court that his son would not repeat his mistake again. The matter was adjourned to 13 January 2004 for the Probation Report on the Juvenile to be prepared.

Probation Report

4 Ms Rodziah Ahmad, the Probation Officer from Probation Services Branch, Ministry of Community Development and Sports (MCDS), assessed that the Juvenile was not suitable for Probation, having considered the Juvenile's following risk factors as well as needs:

(a) The ineffective supervision rendered by the Juvenile’s parents due to their inconsistent parenting styles and work commitments;

(b) The Juvenile's conduct in school;

(c) The Juvenile’s association with negative peers;

(d) The Juvenile’s conduct pending the dispositional order.

The Court’s Decision

5 Section 28 of the Children and Young Persons Act Cap 38 (CYPA) enjoins 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.

6 Unlike the adult courts, the Juvenile Court, in deciding the appropriate “sentence” to be made, does more than impose the dispositional order to commensurate with the gravity of the offence. It must be emphasised that the basic premise upon which the Juvenile Court decides, is how the young offender can be reformed and be re-intergrated back into society. For a juvenile’s rehabilitation to be effective, the Juvenile Court has to be acutely aware of the individual strengths and limitations of the young offender.

7 In recognising that there needs to be a balance between public protection and personal accountability on the one hand, and the legislative concern for the welfare of the young offender, a multi-prong approach has to be taken in dealing with the complexities of juvenile crime. More importantly, effective family support and control are also necessary to help keep our juveniles out of crime and equip them to lead a law-abiding life.

8 It must also be noted that in considering the suitability of any juvenile for probation, the Court has to weigh the risk of further offending against the undoubted benefit of community-based rehabilitation.

9 Bearing in mind the objectives of restorative and rehabilitative justice in dealing with juvenile crime, the Panel of Advisers and this Court explored the suitability of committing the Juvenile to the care of his parents, with outside...

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