SINGAPORE - An 18-year-old who, along with his 14-year-old girlfriend, placed his newborn son in an SG50 bag and left it outside his parents' home, has been sentenced to two years' probation and 100 hours of community service.
He had pleaded guilty last month to a charge of doing a rash act to endanger a human life by leaving his newborn baby unattended. He also admitted to four counts of underage sex with his girlfriend.
In sentencing him on Thursday (Feb 4), 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 towards his child's maintenance.
The baby is being cared for by the child's maternal grandmother. The baby's parents are still seeing each other.
The court had heard that the young couple, both in secondary school, first met at a function celebrating the birth of a baby to the girl's neighbour.
In January last year, after she turned 14, the two had unprotected sex on a staircase landing at the HDB block where she lived. A few days later, they had sex again at the same place. They then decided to focus on their studies and to meet less frequently.
Some time in May or June, she told her boyfriend she was pregnant. Both kept the news to themselves. On Aug 2 that year, at about noon, the girl had stomach pains. While on the toilet seat, she felt extreme pain, and then heard a baby crying.
She looked into the toilet bowl and saw the baby. She picked up her newborn child, washed him in the sink and called her boyfriend.
Turning up at her flat, he suggested they place the baby outside his home so that his family could raise the child. He wanted to see his son grow up without anyone knowing the child was his. 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 also said.
At about 4pm, the boyfriend's mother found the half-zipped SG50 bag and took it inside her home. She unzipped the bag and heard some sounds. Thinking it might be a baby or a kitten, she placed the bag back outside and woke up 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 also confirmed that the baby is theirs.