On Tuesday (March 13), a 21-year old man, who is unnamed to protect the identities of those involved, was handed a reformative training sentence alongside a 13-month jail term.
His offence? Having sex with a 14-year old girl, just three months after he was put on probation for the very same offence.
Sounds complicated? Let us put it this way:
The girl in question, now aged 16, has already given birth to two premature baby boys – once in a toilet at home.
Started in August 2014
The male teenager met the girl in August 2014, when they were 18 years old and in Primary 6 respectively.
Court documents indicated that they apparently started a “romantic relationship” in August 2014.
In late January 2015, the couple had sex on multiple occasions. Sometime in May that year, the girl, who was a Secondary 1 student, told him she was pregnant.
They kept the news to themselves, but did not have an abortion.
In August, the girl gave birth to a baby boy – in the toilet at her home, without her parents’ knowledge.
The baby was born prematurely at 31 weeks. (Some speculation: she might have wanted to give birth before the baby bump became too visible).
She gave the baby to the young man, who put the baby in an SG50 souvenir bag (from S’pore’s NDP celebrations back in 2015), and left his baby son in the bag outside his home.
He later admitted that he did so as he hoped his parents would find the baby and raise him.
However, things didn’t go as well as planned – and the couple eventually admitted to their parents that they had made a baby, and a police report was made.
The youth admitted to the offence of sex with a minor in January 2016, but was simply placed on probation the following month.
The court took into consideration the young ages of those involved, and that the baby-making act was consensual, before coming to the decision.
Unfortunately, the young man did not learn from his mistake.
Just three months after the court placed him on probation, he met the same girl, who was now 15, and had sex with her again at the staircase landing of her housing block.
On 6 Dec 2016, the girl felt abdominal cramps and told her mother that she was pregnant.
This time, her mother rushed her to the hospital, and she gave birth to a second baby boy, also slightly prematurely.
A police report was made following the birth of the baby.
District Judge Joseph, who gave the youth the probation order for his first offence, once again presided over the case.
Addressing the man on Tuesday (13 March), District Judge Mathew Joseph said: “I told you (two years ago) that I will give you a chance. Sadly, you have disappointed me, and other people, including your families.
“It pains this court to sentence you again, when I gave you a chance before.”
The District Judge, however, believed that a long-term prison sentence would not be beneficial for all parties involved.
Instead, he believed that the youth, who was originally set to enlist into National Service (NS), should first undergo reformative training, which would run concurrently with a 13-month jail term that he had to face for breaching his probation order.
District Judge Joseph that that reformation training would build the young man’s “discipline and character”, and also stated that “I would be remiss in my duty if I were to sentence you otherwise.”
He also stated that the family had now become “dysfunctional” and that the young man was responsible for it, and urged all parties involved to be mindful of the two young children that have come out as a result.
The two baby boys will be raised by the parents of the teenage girl, with financial support given by the youth.
Dressed in a grey T-shirt, the man, who was in court with his cousin, declined to address the court when asked by the judge. He hung his head in silence for most of the duration of the trial, as well as when the sentence was passed.
Hopefully, all parties involved will be able to make something out of this unfortunate event, learn from their mistakes, and let the two baby boys grow up in a conducive environment.