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Teenager with history of violence puts up tearful pleas as judge sends him for reformative training

SINGAPORE — A teenager who resorted to violence and harmed a 38-year-old man and two Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students, among others, was sentenced to 12 months of reformative training on Monday (June 8).

Teenager with history of violence puts up tearful pleas as judge sends him for reformative training
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SINGAPORE — A teenager who resorted to violence and harmed a 38-year-old man and two Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students, among others, was sentenced to 12 months of reformative training on Monday (June 8).

In a teary address to the court, Muhammad Syamie Muhammad Ashari, who did not have a lawyer, said that he does not wish to be sent to the Reformative Training Centre as there are “a lot of bad people there”.

“I don’t want to mix with them. I might come out worse. If I am on probation, I have a choice to mix with good people instead of bad people,” the 17-year-old appealed to District Judge Teo Guan Kee.

But the judge, in ordering him to undergo the regimented rehabilitation programme instead of probation — both are sentencing options for offenders under the age of 21 — said that the teenager has no basis to claim that he would turn out worse with reformative training.

Even after sentencing, Syamie continued to cry, saying: “I am really begging. Please. I am changed, Your Honour. I will listen to my mum. I really want to give back to society.”

His last point prompted the judge to say: “I am not taking that away from you. You will still be able to do that.”

District Judge Teo said that the reformative training sentence was “more appropriate” to deter him from reoffending in the future, given the nature of his current set of offences, which involved “significant levels of violence” — one committed while on court bail.

THE CASE

Syamie faced eight charges and the prosecution proceeded with four, to which he pleaded guilty.

Court documents stated that on Dec 19, 2018, eight gang members assaulted Syamie over a staring incident at a Boon Lay coffee shop, leading to a gang fight the night after.

Syamie, his older brother, Syafiq, and a friend named Muhammad Danial Muhammad Faizol came with two 75cm-long metal poles.

Their opponents, a group of 10 aged 16 to 25, armed themselves with a metal rod and a watermelon knife.

A violent fracas ensued when they met at Block 221A Boon Lay Market Place at about midnight. Finding themselves outnumbered, Syamie and Danial ran away as their rivals continued to attack Syafiq.

A police senior staff sergeant broke the fight by drawing his revolver and commanding the group to drop their weapons.

Last year, Syamie got into trouble again on March 7 and Oct 22.

In the first incident, he and two other students beat up his acquaintance, a 16-year-old ITE College East student.

In the second incident, Syamie used a lit cigarette to burn the cheek of a 17-year-old ITE College West student.

Syamie was charged on Jan 13 this year, but he committed another offence in the wee hours of Feb 24 while he was on court bail.

This time, it was over his sister, Syafiqa, who was smoking with her friend at a void deck of a housing block.

A 38-year-old Air Force regular saw them smoking and wanted to report this to the police.

Syamie somehow got involved, slapping the man and splashing water at him.

His older brother Syafiq and Syafiqa’s boyfriend, Muhammad Fadhil Johari, also assaulted the man.

SENTENCING

Syamie’s mother was present in court on Monday and was asked by the judge to give an account of what she would do to improve a lack of parental supervision at home, when he was still considering if he should sentence the boy to probation.

The mother then denied that there was inadequate parental supervision.

“We always made sure we know where (Syamie) goes or advise him on what he does. It does not make sense to say that we do not take care of him, or do not take care of him enough,” she said.

“We are always supervising him. It is his friends who had brought him down this wayward path.”

She added that she would make sure that the family supervises him more closely if he is allowed to be placed on probation.

However, District Judge Teo said the mother’s explanation for his actions “demonstrates a lack of insight into the criminality involved in (Syamie’s) actions”.

The mother also could not specify how she would supervise Syamie, the judge said.

Related topics

reformative training ITE court crime appeal violence

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