Public Prosecutor v GCS

CourtYouth Court (Singapore)
JudgeEugene Tay
Judgment Date07 November 2018
Neutral Citation[2018] SGYC 5
Citation[2018] SGYC 5
Docket NumberYouth Court Appeal YA 005/2017/01, Case No. YC-900030-2017
Plaintiff CounselMr Ng Jie Li Jeremy, Police Prosecutor,
Defendant CounselYouth in person, with natural father.
District Judge Eugene Tay: Background

On 28 September 2018, there was an incident of unruly behaviour (“the Incident”) at Singapore Boys’ Home (“SBH”), a juvenile rehabilitation centre (“JRC”) run by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, as a result of which 14 residents of SBH were arrested by the police. The youth, GCS (“the Youth”) was one of the residents arrested.

At the material time of the Incident, the Youth was serving a 24 month JRC order at SBH passed on 18 April 2017 (“the JRC Order”) for offences of acting on behalf of unlicensed moneylenders with common intention committed in October 2016, under section 28(2)(a) of the Moneylenders Act (Cap. 188) (“Moneylenders Act”) read with section 28(3)(b)(i) of the Moneylenders Act read with section 34 of the Penal Code (Cap. 224). He had previously completed 18 months probation from 18 August 2014 to 17 February 2016 for an offence of theft in dwelling with common intention.

As a result of his involvement in the Incident, on 29 September 2018, SBH took breach action (“Breach Action”) in the Youth Court against the Youth under section 44(7) of the Children and Young Persons Act (Cap. 38, 2001 Rev Ed) (“CYPA”). After the Breach Action was taken, the Court called for both a report to assess the Youth’s suitability to continue residing at SBH 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 in prison pending the preparation and presentation of both reports to the Court on 26 October 2018.

On 26 October 2018, both the Progress Report and RT Report were presented to the Court. After considering both reports, as well hearing from the father of the Youth (“the Father”), the Court ordered the Youth to undergo reformative training (“the RT Order”), having noted from the RT Report that the Youth was found to be physically and mentally suitable to undergo the same.

The Father lodged an appeal against the RT Order on the same day. At the time of the writing of this judgment, neither the Youth nor the Father had applied for a stay of the RT Order pending the appeal.

The Proceedings

During the Breach Action on 29 September 2018, Mr Wong Yu Jin, Senior Assistant Director of SBH (“Mr Wong”) made representations to the Court that the Youth had failed to comply with the rules and regulations of SBH, where the Youth exhibited the following unruly behaviour:

“On 28 September 2018, [the Youth] Jumped on the metal bed to create noise in the dormitory; Did not comply with instructions from the authorities in the Home to stop his behaviour; Threatened to punch a staff of the Home if [the Youth] returned to the Home; Promised to create a mass disturbance in SBH if he returned to the Home.”

The Youth did not dispute the aforesaid representations by Mr Wong nor his involvement in the Incident. After considering the aforesaid representations, as stated at [3] above, the Court called for the Progress Report and RT Report to be presented to the Court on 26 October 2018.

At the hearing on 26 October 2018, the Youth chose not to say anything. The Father told the Court that the Youth had already spent 18 months in SBH, and claimed that something must have “triggered” him in relation to the Incident. The Father further claimed that the Youth had “impulse control disorder” and “intermediate explosive disorder” and requested that the Youth’s mental health condition be checked. The Father pleaded for the Youth to be given a second chance to continue the JRC Order.

As stated at [4] above, after considering both the Progress Report and RT Report, as well as what the Father had to say, the Court proceeded to pass the RT Order, which is the subject of this appeal. At that point in time, the Youth was about 17 and a half years of age.

The Relevant Law

Section 44(7) of the CYPA states: Where a Youth Court is satisfied, on the representations of the manager of a place of detention, a juvenile rehabilitation centre or a place of safety, that a person ordered to be detained in the place of detention, juvenile rehabilitation centre or place of safety is of so unruly a character that he cannot be so detained, the Court may – order the person to be transferred to and detained in a juvenile rehabilitation centre or in another juvenile rehabilitation centre, as the case may be, which the Court considers more suitable for him and to be detained there for the whole or any part of the unexpired period of detention; or deal with the person, or order the person to be brought before a District Court to be dealt with, under section 305 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2010 if the person – has attained the age of 16 years; or ...

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