Probation for teen couple who abandoned baby

They secretly left newborn son with paternal grandparents hoping they would raise him

An 18-year-old teen and his 14-year-old girlfriend placed their newborn son in an SG50 bag and left it outside his parents' home last year, hoping that they would raise him. He was sentenced to two years' probation and 100 hours of community service yesterday.

The teenager - who cannot be named to protect the identity of the baby and mother - pleaded guilty last month to a charge of committing a rash act to endanger a human life and four counts of underage sex.

In sentencing him, Community Court Judge Mathew Joseph expressed his hope that the teenager would become a good father.

He is now working as an Internet network cabling technician and contributes $200 monthly towards his child's maintenance.

The baby is currently being cared for by his maternal grandmother.

The child's mother has been sentenced to probation in a youth court and the parents are still seeing each other.

The court heard that the couple were both in secondary school when they met at a function celebrating a neighbour's new baby. In January last year, after she turned 14, the couple had unprotected sex on a staircase landing at the HDB block where she lived.

They then decided to focus on their studies and to meet less frequently. But in May or June, the girl found herself pregnant. The couple kept the news to themselves.

On Aug 2, the girl went to the toilet with stomach cramps but suddenly heard crying. She looked into the toilet bowl and saw the baby. After picking him up and washing him in the sink, she called her boyfriend. He suggested they place the baby outside his home so that his family could raise him. He wanted to see his son grow up, without anyone knowing the child was his, the court heard.

Before leaving their child outside his home, the boyfriend wrote a letter and placed it in the bag with the baby. It asked for "help to take care of this baby because I cannot afford to take care of him".

"His name has been decided as (redacted)... if I have extra income, I will send money monthly," it said.

At about 4pm, the boyfriend's mother found the half-zipped bag and took it indoors. She then heard some sounds from inside the bag. Thinking there might be a baby or kitten in it, she put the bag back outside and told her husband, who called the police.

Paramedics took the infant to hospital. At about 9pm, the young couple confessed to the boy's father. DNA analysis confirmed that the baby was theirs.

The maximum penalty for doing a rash act to endanger human life is six months' jail and a $2,500 fine. The maximum penalty for sexual penetration of a minor is 10 years' jail and a fine.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 05, 2016, with the headline 'Probation for teen couple who abandoned baby'. Print Edition | Subscribe