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Unfair to send NSmen for reformative training now: Court

SINGAPORE — A High Court judge has dismissed an appeal by the prosecution to send three National Servicemen for reformative training instead of jail, saying it would be unfair to them.

SINGAPORE — A High Court judge has dismissed an appeal by the prosecution to send three National Servicemen for reformative training instead of jail, saying it would be unfair to them.

The trio, who were convicted of theft, are serving prison terms of between seven months and one-and-a-half years. One is due for release this Saturday, while the other two will be released early next year.

If a reformative training sentence, which is a minimum of 18 months, had been imposed, their time served would not have counted.

Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin, who oversaw the appeal, agreed with defence counsel Amarick Gill and Mr Tan Kai Liang, an amicus curiae or friend of the court, that to impose such a sentence at this point would be crushing and seen as “additional punishment”.

Mr Tan, a Senior Associate at Allen & Gledhill, had submitted that, while the court has the power to impose a reformative training sentence even at the tail end of the prison term, it may lead to a “disproportionate sentence incommensurate with the gravity and circumstances”.

In dismissing the appeal, Justice Chao told Deputy Public Prosecutor Leong Wing Tuck to look into measures to prevent similar situations where the prisoner has already served most of his sentence before his appeal is heard.

Saiful Rizam Assim, 19; Muhammad Erman Iman Tauhid, 20; and Muhammad Yunus Aziz, 19; were staff assistants at Ang Mo Kio Police Division last year when they went on a stealing spree at the station. They were convicted earlier this year.

The prosecution had appealed against their sentences, saying that the district judge was unduly focused upon the custodial length of reformative training instead of the rehabilitative purpose.

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