Public Prosecutor v GCJ

JudgeEugene Tay
Judgment Date21 May 2018
Neutral Citation[2018] SGYC 2
CourtYouth Court (Singapore)
Docket NumberYouth Court Appeal YA 002/2017/01, Case No. YC-900001-2018
Published date25 May 2018
Hearing Date25 April 2018
Plaintiff CounselPP, Police Prosecutor,
Defendant CounselMr B M/s W M Low & Partners,
Subject MatterCriminal Procedure and Sentencing,Sentencing,Young Offenders,Children and Young Persons Act,Reformative Training
Citation[2018] SGYC 2
District Judge Eugene Tay: Background

On 21 February 2018, GCJ (“the Youth”) pleaded guilty in the Youth Court (“the Court”) for one (1) count of robbery with hurt on 17 December 2017 under section 394 of the Penal Code, Cap 224 (“the Penal Code”) (“the Proceeded Charge”). One (1) count of unlawful possession of an offensive weapon on 31 December 2017 under section 6(1) of the Corrosive and Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons Act, Cap 65 (“the TIC Charge”) was taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing.

At the time the plea of guilt was taken, the Youth was 15 years and 10 months old. He was also serving a 24 month Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre (“JRC”) order at XXX passed on 21 February 2017 (“the JRC Order”) for a similar offence of robbery committed on 18 December 2016 during his home leave while he was residing at XXX under a Beyond Parental Control Order passed on 3 July 2015 (“the BPC Order”).

As the Youth was unrepresented by counsel at the time the plea was taken, his parents presented the mitigation plea on his behalf. The Court called for both a report to assess his suitability to continue residing at XXX under the JRC Order (“Progress Report”) as well as a report to assess his suitability to undergo reformative training (“RT Report”). The Youth was remanded for four (4) weeks in XXX pending the preparation and presentation of both reports to the Court on 20 March 2018.

On 20 March 2018, after both the Progress Report and RT Report were presented to the Court, the Youth told the Court he wanted to engage counsel. The case was adjourned to 10 April 2018 for him or his parents to do so. On 10 April 2018, his parents informed the Court that they had applied for legal aid, and requested an adjournment of two (2) weeks. The case was further adjourned to 25 April 2018 for counsel to be appointed. Between 20 March 2018 to 25 April 2018, the Youth continued to reside at XXX.

On 25 April 2018, appointed counsel, Mr B appeared on behalf of the Youth. Mr B tendered a written mitigation plea and made submissions on behalf of the Youth. After considering the same, as well as the submissions from the Police prosecutor, the Court, after noting from the RT Report that the Youth was found to be physically and mentally suitable to undergo reformative training, ordered the Youth to undergo reformative training (“the RT Order”). By this time, the Youth had turned 16 years of age.

The Youth, being dissatisfied with the RT Order, appealed against the same on 7 May 2018. At the time of the writing of this judgment, the Youth had not applied for a stay of the RT Order pending the appeal.

The Charges

The Proceeded Charge is as follows:

YAC-900001-2018 – 1st Charge (Amended)


D.O.B. : 13 APRIL 2002

are charged that you, on the 17th day of December 2017, at or about 2.02pm, at XXX, did commit robbery of the following items: One plastic bag containing unknown assortment of items of unknown value

in the possession of one C, F/41 years, and at the time of committing the said robbery, you have voluntarily cause [sic] hurt to the said C, F/41 years, to wit, by pushing her to the ground, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 394 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.

The TIC Charge is as follows:

YAC-900116-2018 – 2nd Charge


D.O.B. : 13 APRIL 2002

are charged that you, on the 31st day of December 2017, at or about 4.15pm, at XXX, Singapore 649818, a public place, did have in your possession an offensive weapon, without lawful authority or for a lawful purpose, to wit, a 20cm knife with 12cm blade and 8cm handle, and you have thereby committed an offence under Section 6(1) of the Corrosive and Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons Act, Chapter 65.

The Statement of Facts

In pleading guilty to the Proceeded Charge, the Youth admitted to the Statement of Facts without qualification. I set out the salient portions below.

On 17 December 2017 at about 2.02pm, the Youth was given home leave from XXX and had travelled to XXX in search of someone to rob. He disclosed of his intentions to rob someone in order to obtain cash, which he could use to purchase a brand new mobile phone. While the victim was making her way to work and passed by the aforesaid location, the Youth approached her from behind and attempted to snatch the sling bag she was carrying. As the victim resisted, both parties struggled for possession of the bag. The Youth then pushed the victim to the ground, took the bag and fled from the scene. He subsequently discarded the items when he realised they were of no significant value.


After the Youth pleaded guilty on 21 February 2018, the Prosecution did not make submissions on the orders to be passed, except pointing out that the Youth was still serving the JRC Order. The Youth’s parents pleaded for the Court to give the Youth a chance to change and to be lenient with him. The Court called for the Progress Report and RT Report as stated at [3] above.

At the hearing on 25 April 2018, Mr B stated in his written mitigation plea that the Youth was suffering from 4 separate medical conditions, namely, Tourette’s Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (“ODD”), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (“OCD”) and Conduct Disorder. Mr B submitted that the Youth’s medical condition could have influenced his thought processes and contributed to the commission of the offence, and that there is a causal link between his condition and the offence. Mr B also asked for the Prosecution to request the XXX for an updated report on the Youth. Mr B stated that the Youth is sincerely remorseful and has agreed to undergo treatment at XXX. Mr B urged the Court to give weight to the Youth’s medical condition and young age, and to call for a Mandatory Treatment Order (“MTO”) report (“MTO Report”), despite the fact the Youth was a repeat offender and the seriousness of the offence. Mr B submitted that reformative training would not be in the Youth’s best interest, as the conditions in a regimented environment like the Reformative Training Centre will aggravate his illness and not help him recover.

In response, the Prosecution did not object to the Defence’s application for a MTO Report. However, the Prosecution submitted there is no medical report submitted by the Defence to prove that the Youth’s condition had a factor to play in the commission of the offence or that there is a causal link between the Youth’s condition and the commission of the offence. The Prosecution added that the onus was on the Defence to obtain an updated assessment from XXX on the Youth’s condition if the Defence was relying on this as a mitigation factor. The Prosecution submitted that the Youth’s condition was not a mitigating factor.

The Relevant Law

The powers of the Youth Court upon a child or young person (“the offender”) pleading guilty to, or having been found guilty of, an offence are set out in section 44(1) of the Children and Young Persons Act, Cap. 38 (“CYPA”). Such powers include:


to order the offender to be sent to a juvenile rehabilitation centre for not more than 3 years; or

to deal with the offender, or order the offender to be brought before a District Court to be dealt with, under section 305 of the Criminal Procedure Code… if the offender – has attained the age of 16 years; or having attained the age of 14 years but being below the age of 16 years, has previously been dealt with by a court in connection with another offence and had, in respect...

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