Are you a juvenile ?
the questions you have wanted to ask but no
one was listening
All information provided
in these webpages are for general
knowledge only. You must consult a lawyer
before you rely or act on them.
Section 48 of the
Children and Young Persons Act (Cap 38) (the
Act) provides that young person shall be
tried in a juvenile court.
is defined in s 42 of the Act and reads:
person means a person who
14 years of age or upwards and
under the age of 16 years.
The age of the offender
is the age when he committed the offence. It
means that if he were 15 years old when he
committed the offence, he would be tried at a
juvenile court notwithstanding than he was
already 17 years old at the time of the trial.
In one case, a young
offender was born on 29 July 1970. He was the
youngest and the pet in the family with two
brothers and six sisters. His father, who had
been a side-walk barber in Syed Alwi Road, had
recently died on 15 November 1989. He attended
Mattar Primary School in Circuit Road, and when
his family moved to Bedok, he went to Hong San
Primary School. He was not interested in studies.
He fought with his
physical education teacher and with a classmate.
Because of these incidents, he stayed away from
school and played truant. His family members did
not know of this for some time as he would put on
his school uniform and leave home everyday. After
a time, he did not return home; he would stay in
the void decks of Housing & Development Board
(HDB) estates. The members of his
family would have to go and look for him and
bring him home. Not without reason he was
punished by his father, and one of his elder
brothers. He had even been chained. He, however,
claimed that he had a normal father-and-son
relationship. He also bore no ill-will against
his brother for disciplining him. He left school
in primary six.
He had been a glue-sniffer.
He started sniffing glue whilst at school. After
he left school, he regularly sniffed glue. He
said that he became addicted to it. He also
swallowed Roche pills. During this period, he
extorted money from students, shoplifted, and
stole money from locked cars and stole birds from
HDB flats for sale.
In September 1983, when
he was 13 years old, he was arrested for theft of
a motorcycle. He was sent by the juvenile court
to the Boys Home for three years. After his
release in June or July 1985, he worked for a
while as an air-condition apprentice. In December
1986 he was arrested and charged in court for
housebreaking and theft by night. This time he
was sent to the young offenders section of
Changi Prison and subsequently transferred to the
reformative training centre from where he was
released in May 1988.
Once an offender is 16
years old when he commits an offence, the
punishment becomes tougher.
In Fay v Public
Prosecutor, Fay was 18 years old when he
committed vandalism by spraying paint from a
spray paint can onto motor vehicles. Upon being
convicted, he was sentenced to two months
imprisonment and three strokes of the cane in
respect of each charge.
The section dealing with
the jurisdiction of the juvenile court is section
48 of the Children and Young Persons Act (Cap 38)
(the Act). It reads:
(1) Subject as
hereinafter provided, no charge against a
child or young person shall be heard by a
court of summary jurisdiction which is not a
(a) where a
child or young person is charged with
an offence or offences triable only
by the High Court, he shall be tried
by the High Court;
(b) a charge
made jointly against a child or young
person and a person who has attained
the age of 16 years shall be heard by
a court of appropriate jurisdiction
other than a Juvenile Court; or
(c) where in
the course of any proceedings before
any court of appropriate jurisdiction
other than a Juvenile Court, it
appears that the person to whom the
proceedings relate is a child or
young person, nothing in this section
shall be construed as preventing the
court, if it thinks fit to do so,
from proceeding with the hearing and
determination of the proceedings.
(2) A Juvenile Court
shall have jurisdiction to try all offences
which, but for subsection (1), would be
triable only by a Magistrates Court or
a District Court.