Public Prosecutor v WG

CourtJuvenile Court (Singapore)
JudgeWong Li Tein
Judgment Date17 January 2008
Neutral Citation[2008] SGJC 2
Citation[2008] SGJC 2
Published date23 April 2008
Plaintiff CounselTin Nge Kong (INSP)
Defendant CounselThe Juvenile and parents in person

17 January 2008

Magistrate Wong Li Tein:

1 On 25 October 2008, WG, a male juvenile aged 15 years and 6 months (“the Juvenile”), pleaded guilty to the following charge:

Charge

You, WG, M/15 yrs, DOB: 04.04.1992, are charged that you, on 17th day of June 2007 at or about 2.30am at Century Square located at Tampines Central 5, Singapore, which is a public place, did carry in your possession or under your control an offensive weapon, to wit, one black color baton about 32cm long with a black color lanyard attached to it, otherwise than with lawful authority or for lawful purpose, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under section 6(1) of the Corrosive and Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons Act, Chapter 65.

2 The Juvenile admitted to the Statement of Facts without qualification. The salient points are as follows:

(a) On 15 June 2007 at around 11.00am, the Juvenile and his accomplice, B2, were involved in a staring incident with a group of 10 to 12 Chinese youths. At around 4.00pm the following day, on 16 June, the Juvenile was at B2’s house when they decided to bring along a 32cm black baton as protection for a “settlement talk” with the same group of Chinese youths. The baton belonged to B2’s father, but they did not seek his permission before taking it with them for the “settlement talk”.

(b) The baton was not used during the “settlement talk” as the Chinese youths were unarmed. However, the Juvenile and B2 were spot checked by police patrol officers at Century Square at around 2.30am on 17 June 2007 for behaving suspiciously, whereupon they admitted that the black baton was in the Juvenile’s possession for purposes of the “settlement talk”.

4 The Juvenile was found guilty of the charge for which he faced on 25 October 2007. In mitigation, he said that he had good friends who encouraged him not to commit offences again. His mother informed the Court that he was doing well in school and has shown improvement at home. He now associates with good company and she brings him to the mosque for prayer and counseling.

Probation Report

5 Ms Faith Kong, 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 and risk factors of the Juvenile, who is a secondary three student. She assessed the Juvenile to be suitable for probation.

The Court’s Decision

6 The Juvenile Court is guided by the considerations stated in section 28 of the Children and Young Persons Act (CYPA) when dealing with young offenders such as the Juvenile. Under section 28, the Court must have regard to the welfare of the Juvenile and in proper cases, take steps to remove him from his undesirable surroundings and ensure that adequate provision is made for his education and training. Section 28 reads:

“28. —(1) Every 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 securing that proper provision is made for his education and training.” [emphasis mine]

7 In other words, more than simply to impose a dispositional order to commensurate with the seriousness of the offence, the Court has to consider how the young offender can be reformed, rehabilitated and re-integrated into society, with provisions made for his education and training, when meting out the most appropriate order against him. To do so, the Juvenile’s personal strengths, weaknesses and limitations must be borne in mind so that the order of Court may be effective towards these purposes.

8 In some cases, the risk factors faced by the juvenile serves to hinder or limit effective rehabilitation. Therefore, when considering if a juvenile is suitable for probation, the risk of re-offence must be balanced against the widely-known benefits of community-based rehabilitation. Having considered fully the...

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