Public Prosecutor v Y ( a minor)

CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)
JudgeMay Lucia Mesenas
Judgment Date18 February 2003
Neutral Citation[2003] SGMC 3
Citation[2003] SGMC 3
Publication Date02 October 2003
Plaintiff CounselAppellant in person
Defendant CounselSorjan Singh

1 On 30 October 2002, the above male juvenile, aged 15 years and 8 months, pleaded guilty in the Juvenile Court to two charges of attempted theft and theft respectively. The charges are set out below:

Charge – Exhibit “P1”

”You, Y, (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Juvenile’), male/15 years old, are charged that you, on or about the 30th of March 2002, at about 1.00 am, outside of Blk X Bedok North Ave 4, #X, Singapore, together with W, Y and Z, and in furtherance of the common intention of you all, did attempt to commit theft of two stunt bicycles of unknown value, belonging to Abdul Ghaffar Bin Dul Rashid, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 379 read with Section 34 and Section 511 of the Penal Code, Cap 224.”

Charge – Exhibit “P2”

“You, Y, (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Juvenile’), male/15 years old, are charged that you, on or about 7.30pm, on the 8th July 2002, at No. X, Siglap Road, outside unit #X, Singapore, together with one A, and one B, and in furtherance of the common intention of you all, did commit theft of one ‘GT’ brand bicycle, valued at S$400, in possession of one Dax Young, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 379 read with Section 34 of the Penal Code, Cap 224.”

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

(a) On 30 March 2002 at about 1.00am, the Juvenile and his accomplices went to Blk 101 Bedok North Ave 4, for the purpose of stealing bicycles and to sell them thereafter.

(b) They chanced upon two stunt bicycles outside unit #04-1950 which were secured with a chain outside the said unit. The Juvenile used a cutter he was carrying, to cut the chain whilst his accomplices acted as his look-outs. However, upon successfully cutting the chain, it fell on the ground and made some noise, whereupon the owner of the bicycles (also known as the ‘victim’ and occupant of the said flat) was alerted. He looked out and spotted the Juvenile and his accomplices who subsequently fled, without taking the bicycles which they intended to steal.

(c) On 8 July 2002 at about 7.30pm, the Juvenile and his accomplices (not the same as above), upon questioning by the security guard for the Mandarin Gardens condominium, admitted that they had stolen a ‘GT’ brand mountain bicycle, valued at S$400, from one of the units in the above-mentioned condominium. They also admitted that they brought along with them a cutter concealed inside a badminton racket cover with the intention to cut any lock should they come across any secured bicycle that they wanted to steal.

3 Accordingly, the Juvenile was found guilty of both charges on 30 October 2002. The adoptive mother of the Juvenile, Mdm C (hereinafter referred to as “the mother”), requested for Mr D, her friend and defacto guardian of the Juvenile to speak on behalf of the Juvenile. She also tendered a “Letter of Authorisation” (Exhibit “D1”) stating that Mr D was the Juvenile’s guardian (hereinafter referred to as “the guardian”) since the latter was in Primary One. Mr D was also a retired school teacher for 35 years. The Juvenile also looked upon Mr D as his “father”. In mitigation, the Juvenile, a first offender, claimed that he was sorry for what he did and wanted to be given another to continue his studies. The Juvenile’s mother wanted him to be placed in Salvation Army instead of the Singapore Boys’ Home, She also wanted him to continue his studies. Mr D also pleaded for another chance for the Juvenile. The Juvenile was released on bail to the care of his mother. The matter was adjourned to 10 December 2002 for the Probation Report on the Juvenile to be prepared. The case was further adjourned to 23 December 2002 for a Family Conference to be convened.

Probation Report

4 Ms Chua Seow Ling, the Probation Officer from Probation Services Branch, Ministry of Development and Sports (MCDS), assessed that the Juvenile was suitable for Probation, but with an additional condition of placing the Juvenile in an approved institution for a period of 12 months. Factors which Ms Chua considered in arriving at her assessment include the following:

(a) The inconsistent parenting styles between the Juvenile’s mother and the guardian, as well as their ineffective supervision;

(b) The Juvenile’s conduct in school;

(c) The Juvenile’s risk of re-offending.

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...

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