Toa Payoh vandal's enrolment into rehab centre a "tactical manouevre": DPP

 Boaz Koh Wen Jie is accused of vandalising the rooftop of a HDB block in Toa Payoh on May 7, 2014.
Boaz Koh Wen Jie is accused of vandalising the rooftop of a HDB block in Toa Payoh on May 7, 2014. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Toa Payoh vandal Boaz Koh Wen Jie's enrolment into a rehabilitation centre just days before he pleaded guilty to vandalism, theft and criminal trespass, was a "tactical manouevre" to earn a lighter sentence.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Francis Ng, argued this in Court on Thursday, urging Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon to send Koh instead to the Reformative Training Centre.

Koh, 18, was given 2 1/2 years' probation for charges of vandalism, theft and criminal trespass last month.

Koh is one of five accused who had vandalised the rooftop of a Toa Payoh HDB block in May last year. The other five accused have been given probation, but Koh, who was already on probation for an earlier offence at the time of the crime - was considered most culpable, said the prosecution.

Young offenders should not have the liberty to pick the punishment of their choosing, said DPP Francis Ng, adding that Koh's enrolment into rehabilitation centre The Hiding Place was a calculated move to avoid a stint in the Reformative Training Centre.

"It's really not a buffet for the accused to pick and choose the punishment of their choosing," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Francis Ng.

Koh's lawyer Randhawa Ravinderpal Singh said his client has been accessed to be genuinely remorseful.

"I am just pleading with you to give him a chance," Mr Singh told the Court.

CJ Menon agreed with the prosecution and said he did not want to sent a signal to the community that young offenders could "pick and choose" their punishment.

He reserved judgement and said he would give his decision within two weeks.