Singapore Juvenile Case Law

I hereby make record of some case law relating to juveniles. Before I proceed, please take note that current legal changes may have rendered the below cases obsolete. Nevertheless, to my understanding,  they could still provide some form of precedent for current and future cases.

  1. MF v. PP

(MA 352/1996) High Court [1997] 3 SLR 345

The above case was decided on 14 July 1997 by Yong Pung How CJ.

A 14 year old male youth had been charged under Penal Code (Cap. 224), section 379. He had made an appeal after he was detained much earlier due to wallet stealing at a department store. (Legally, the youth is termed the ‘appellant’.) At the lower level Juvenile court, he refused probation and was sentenced to two years at the Singapore Boys’ Home (SBH) instead. Following this, an appeal was made to challenge the verdict. During the appeal, the defence lawyer interjected regarding the decision on the SBH stay. The counsel sought to reverse the stay back to probation instead. However, under Section 5(4) of the Probation of Offenders Act, since the appellant was age 14 (and above), probation could not be forced upon him as this was against his wishes. The appeal was dismissed.

{See Reference: P. 135-136}


  1. PDE v. PP

(MA 59/2001) Juvenile Court

Magistrate May Lucia Mesenas, Mr Lee Tiong Peng (Panel of Advisors) and Mr Philip Leong (Panel of Advisers)

21 February 2001

The accused was declared guilty based on her taking of ‘Ecstasy’ (a Class A controlled drug). The female accused had no (other known or recorded) drug offence. The accused also stated that she was ready to repent including returning to study.

The Probation Report produced by the Probation Officer (under the then Ministry of Community Development and Sports) saw otherwise.

Of the more serious flaws:

a) Poor parental supervision and their acceptance of the accused’s misbehaviour. As the father was similarly a drug offender, it seemed unlikely that there would be adequate parental control with one half out of the picture.

b) Massive truancy with attendance at 78/176 (approximately 44%)

c) There was a low chance that she could get away from her friends who influenced her negatively

d) She had absented herself from appointments with the Probation Officer (PO). During one instance, she was actually spending time at Orchard Road. Additionally, she did not contact the PO daily at 7pm as directed.

Thence, the accused was sentenced to 2 years at the Toa Payoh Girls’ Home. The follow up appeal against this was rejected.

{See Reference: P. 136-138}



Magistrate May Lucia Mesenas, Magistrate Ong Chin Heng and District Judge Mark Tay. (2003). Case Law and Case Studies in Richard Magnus, Lim Hui Min, May Lucia Mesenas & Valerie Thean (eds.) Rebuilding Lives, Restoring Relationships: Juvenile Justice and the Community. Eastern Universities Press. P. 73-146.