Public Prosecutor v VN (A Minor)

CourtJuvenile Court (Singapore)
JudgeLim Keng Yeow
Judgment Date15 November 2007
Neutral Citation[2007] SGJC 5
Citation[2007] SGJC 5
Publication Date03 April 2008
Plaintiff CounselINSP Ting Nge Kong
Defendant CounselThe Juvenile in person

15 November 2007

District Judge Lim Keng Yeow:

1. On 13 September 2007, VN, a male juvenile (“the Juvenile”), was charged with the following two offences:

JAC 1255/2007

You, VN, M/12yrs, DOB: XX Apr 1995 are charged that you, on the 12th day of June 2006 at or about 3.00pm, along the corridor, outside the unit of Blk 113 Pending Rd #07-XXX, Singapore, did use criminal force on one HH, F/16 yrs, with intention to outrage her modesty, to wit, by using your right hand to pinch the right side of her buttocks and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under section 354 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.

JAC 1257/2007

You, VN, M/12yrs, DOB: XX Apr 1995 are charged that you, on the 4th day of January 2007 at or about 1.40pm, outside the unit #07-286 of Blk 899C Woodlands Drive 50, Singapore, did voluntarily cause hurt to one Abubo Emma Ben, f/34 yrs, to wit, by pulling her hair, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under section 323 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.

2. The Juvenile pleaded guilty to the charges and admitted to the Statement of Facts (“SOF”, exhibit “A”) without qualification. He was found guilty of the charges. A remaining charge was taken into consideration for purposes of the court order. This charge read:

JAC 1256/2007

You, VN, M/12yrs, DOB: XX Apr 1995 are charged that you, on the 4th day of January 2007 at or about 1.40pm, outside the unit #07-286 of Blk 899C Woodlands Drive 50, Singapore, intending to insult the modesty of one Abubo Emma Ben, f/34 yrs, you did pull down your pants and exposed your penis intending that such gesture shall be seen by the said Abubo Emma Ben and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under section 509 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.

3. In mitigation, he said that he was sorry for what he did. When asked whether he was sorry before his arrest, he answered, “No”. His parents then pleaded for leniency on his behalf, saying that he was at a very impressionable age, he studied well in school and that he will mend his ways.

4. The matter was adjourned for a Probation Report (“PSR”) to be prepared.

The Probation Report

5. Mr Andre Wai, the probation officer from Probation Services Branch (PSB), Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), submitted a report to the Court highlighting the background of the Juvenile and his risk factors. He rated the Juvenile using the standard “Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory” (YLS/CMI) and assessed his risk of re-offending to be “High”. He did not recommend probation.

The Court’s Decision

6. On 16 October 2007, having considered fully the facts and circumstances of this case, I decided that probation was not appropriate and ordered that the Juvenile be sent to an Approved School for 2½ years under Section 44(1)(i) of the Children and Young Persons Act (Cap 38, 2001 Rev Ed) (“CYPA”). The Juvenile was then about 12 years and 6 months.

7. In arriving at this decision, I was mindful of Section 28 of the CYPA, which provides that the Court, in dealing with a child or young person who is brought before it, either as being in need of care or protection, or as an offender or otherwise, shall have regard to the welfare of the child or young person and shall, in a proper case, take steps for removing him from undesirable surroundings, and for ensuing that proper provision is made for his education and training.

8. Section 28 CYPA does not mean that the court ignores principles of sentencing applicable to all offenders, including the principle of proportionality. It does mean, however, that general sentencing principles must be balanced with the greater need and preponderant consideration in the Juvenile Court for the juvenile to be reformed, rehabilitated and re-integrated into society, and for provision to be made for his education and training.

9. While a 2½-year Approved School Order seems harsh given the tender age of the Juvenile, there are a number of factors that, to my mind, require its imposition.

The Offences and Manner of Commission

JAC 1255/2007

10. According to the SOF, the Juvenile entered the same lift as the victim at Blk 113 Pending Road. She got off at the 6th floor. He stayed on and got off at the 11th floor. Then he went down the stairs to the 7th floor where he saw her walking along the corridor towards her unit. As she was...

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