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School CP - August 1999

Corpun file 4137


The Straits Times, Singapore, 19 August 1999

Boy who broke into flat admits to lying in court

By Elena Chong

A BOY from a top school here, who had broken into a neighbour's condominium unit together with a schoolmate, admitted yesterday that he had lied in court.

The 15-year-old student, who wept in the Juvenile Court, said he had stolen from his schoolmates a total of five times, and not twice, as he had earlier claimed.

The court heard that he had also been caned by the school for the thefts.

The boy, a permanent resident here, said he had lied because he was desperate and "scared" of the judge, and was afraid that telling the truth might reduce his chances of getting probation.

At one point, he even knelt before District Judge Tay Swee Keng, who told him to stand up.

Last month, he and his 14-year-old accomplice pleaded guilty to breaking into a 53-year-old woman's flat in the Orchard Road area by using a phone card to meddle with the lift at about 2.15 am on April 4.

The boy had used the phone card to slot through a "door jamb" and gained access to the neighbour's apartment. But nothing was stolen from the flat.

The younger boy will be sentenced on Aug 25.

Yesterday, the 15-year-old's counsel, Mr Chia Boon Teck, urged the court to consider that the boy was remorseful about having brought shame to his school, his parents and himself.

The boy's parents, he said, were shocked and devastated as he had always been well-behaved at home.

He added: "The offender comes from a well-to-do family and was not in need of anything money could buy. He is unable to furnish a logical explanation for the spate of events and he offers no excuses for them."

The judge rebuked the boy for having lied, and told him that lying in court was especially serious.

He also ticked him off for putting his lawyer in a very difficult position, but he absolved counsel from being involved in fabricating the false statement.

The judge told the parents that he was satisfied that they were "very, very good parents" in disciplining and supervising their children. He placed the boy on 24 months' probation.

He will also have to serve 120 hours of community service. His parents signed a $5,000 bond for his good behaviour.

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