Public Prosecutor v GEI

JudgeEugene Tay
Judgment Date28 March 2022
Neutral Citation[2022] SGYC 1
CourtYouth Court (Singapore)
Docket NumberYouth Court Appeal YA 001/2022/01, Case No. YC-900049-2020
Published date08 December 2022
Hearing Date01 March 2022
Plaintiff CounselDSP Sufian Ahmad Sarom, Police Prosecutor,
Defendant CounselYouth in person, with natural parents.
Subject MatterCriminal Procedure and Sentencing,Young Offenders,Children and Young Persons Act,Breach Action
Citation[2022] SGYC 1
District Judge Eugene Tay: Introduction

This is the appeal by the father of the youth GEI (“the Youth”) against the orders made by the Youth Court (“the Court”) on 1 March 2022 whereby the Court ordered the Youth to reside in a Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre (“JRC”), Singapore Boys’ Home (“SBH”), for a period of 10 months with effect from 1 March 2022 (“JRC Order”), and for the parents of the Youth to undergo counselling and be bonded $1,000.00 each (collectively, “the Orders”).


On 30 July 2020, the Youth pleaded guilty to a total of seven (7) charges comprising theft-in-dwelling, with 22 other charges for various property-related offences comprising theft, dishonest misappropriation of moveable property, theft-in-dwelling and attempted theft-in-dwelling being taken into consideration. After hearing the mitigation plea by the Youth and the parents, the Court called for a pre-sentence report (“PSR”) to be prepared by a probation officer from the Ministry of Social and Family Development before deciding on the appropriate dispositional orders under section 44(1) of then-Children and Young Persons Act (Cap. 38, 2001 Ed) (“CYPA 2001”), now section 49(1) of the Children and Young Persons Act 1993 (2020 Edition) (“CYPA 2020”).

On 15 September 2020, after considering the contents of the PSR, the Court ordered the Youth to be detained in SBH under a detention order for 14 days, and thereafter be placed on 24 months split probation (6 months intensive and 18 months supervised) (“the Probation Order”). Conditions in the Probation Order include having to be of good behaviour and keep the peace, report to and receive visits from the Probation Officer (“PO”), to carry out lawful instructions given by the PO, to remain indoors from 8.00pm to 6.00am, to perform 80 hours of community service, to attend prison visit and smoking cessation programme, as well as theft intervention programme if assessed suitable. The Court also ordered the Youth’s parents to be bonded $4,000.00 each to exercise proper care and guardianship, and the Youth to attend a Progress Presentation Review (“PPR”) in Court in 4 months. At the time of the passing of the Probation Order, the Youth was 14 years old.

On 4 March 2021, the Youth attended a PPR in Court as directed. After considering the Youth’s progress as reported by the PO, the Court allowed probation to continue, with no amendments to the Probation Order.

On 1 November 2021, the PO initiated breach action against the Youth in Court (“1st Breach Action”) due to the Youth’s poor progress on probation, namely, failure to be of good behaviour, failure to report to PO and failure to abide by lawful instructions of PO. Instead of taking further action against the Youth, the Court gave the Youth a chance and instead issued a warning to the Youth and directed that the case be reviewed in Court in two (2) months. The case was subsequently fixed for review in Court on 20 January 2022.

The Current Breach Proceedings

During the review in Court on 20 January 2022, the PO submitted a Review Report (“the Review Report”)1 on the Youth to the Court. In the Review Report, the PO reported, among other things, that the Youth’s risk of re-offending remained very high and that the Youth’s progress on probation has been poor. The PO also assessed that breach action was necessary to reassess the Youth’s suitability to continue probation and the parents’ capacity in providing support for his rehabilitation, and initiated breach action against the Youth on 20 January 2022 (“2nd Breach Action”).

For the 2nd Breach Action, the PO reported that, among other things, the Youth had failed to comply with the following conditions in the Probation Order: Failed to report to PO on 15 December 2021; Failed to perform community service on 23 and 30 November 2021 without valid reason; and Failed to abide by the time restriction on 8 and 28 December 2021.

The Youth and the parents were present in Court on 20 January 2022 when the 2nd Breach Action was taken. The Youth did not make any allegation that the latest infringements reported by the PO as set out at [7] above were factually incorrect. After hearing from the Youth and the parents, the Court called for a progress report to be submitted by the PO to assess the Youth’s suitability to continue probation under the Probation Order, and ordered the Youth to be remanded in SBH pending the preparation of the progress report. The case was initially fixed on 15 February 2022 for orders to be passed, but was subsequently re-fixed to 1 March 2022 as the PO had tested positive for COVID-19 as of 7 February 2022.

On 1 March 2022, the Progress Report dated 23 February 2022 (“the Progress Report”)2 was presented to the Court. At the conclusion of the Progress Report, the PO stated that continuation of probation is not recommended for the Youth, and it was recommended for the Youth to undergo a JRC order at SBH for a period of 10 months3.

After considering the contents of the Progress Report as well as hearing from the Prosecution and the parents of the Youth (the Youth chose not to say anything despite being asked by the Court if he had anything to say), the Court revoked the Probation Order, and passed the Orders at [1] above. At the time of passing of the Orders, the Youth was 15 years and 5 months old.

On 8 March 2022, the father of the Youth lodged a Notice of Appeal against the Orders. At the time of the writing of this judgment, neither the Youth nor his parents had applied for a stay of the Orders pending the appeal.

The Relevant Law

Section 44(5) of the CYPA 2001, (now section 49(4) of the CYPA 2020) states:

“If an offender, without reasonable excuse, contravenes any order made by the Youth Court under subsection (1) (called hereinafter the original order) or any condition thereof, the Youth Court may make such order as is necessary for the offender to be produced before it and thereafter, deal with the offender by – making any order that the Court is empowered to make under subsection (1); varying the original order or any condition of the order; or directing the offender to comply with the original order or any condition of the order to the extent that the original order or condition of the order has not been complied with.

Under the above provisions, where the offender in question does not comply with the conditions of the original order or any condition thereof (in this case, the Youth not complying with the conditions of the Probation Order), the Youth Court may make any order that the Court is empowered to make under section 44(1) of the CYPA 2001 (now section 49(1) of the CYPA 2020), including a JRC Order under section 44(1)(i) of the CYPA 2001 (now section 49(1)(i) of the CYPA 2020).


In the present proceedings, what the Court had to determine following the 2nd Breach Action being taken was whether the Youth should be allowed to continue being placed on probation (with or without extension of the Probation Order and/or with or without additional conditions), or whether the Probation Order should be revoked and other dispositional orders under section 44(1) of the CYPA 2001 (now section 49(1) of the CYPA 2020) be passed.

In terms of the approach to be taken, the Court has the welfare and best interests of the young offender as the first and paramount consideration4. As a starting point, the Court in dealing with a young offender who appears before the Court for the first time and with a clean record may generally prefer a parsimonious approach, and favour less intrusive and less severe options wherever possible, while ultimately ensuring that the order chosen would be one that best serves the interest of the young offender before it (PP v GCB (A...

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