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Teen in Toa Payoh vandalism case given second chance at probation

10247348_761183310593505_8399182258482229109_nThe last of the teenagers to be sentenced to the Toa Payoh vandalism case has been sentenced to 30 months of probation, although the prosecution plans to appeal for a reformative training sentence.

Boaz Koh Wen Jie, 18, together with four others - Reagan Tan Chang Zhi, Chay Nam Shen, Goh Rong Liang and David William Graaskov, all 18 - were charged for their involvement in the case of vandalism of a Housing Development Board flat roof top in May 2014 , when some in the group spray painted insulting messages to the ruling People's Action Party.

They were also charged with stealing the cans of spray paint used.

Graaskov, however, left the group before they headed to the roof top.

Koh himself had pleaded guilty to five charges of vandalism, theft and criminal trespass and had six others taken into consideration.

Tan, Chay, Goh and Grasskov have all been given probation sentences, but the prosecution wanted a sterner sentence for Koh as he had "higher culpability" and had committed the offences while already on probation for theft and trespass.

Deputy public prosecutor Tang Shangjun also charged that Koh had acted as a lookout to ensure that all lights in the surrounding units were switched off, and also the one who sprayed over the graffiti a second time as he "wanted to make the text bolder".

However, District Judge Lim Keng Yeow said Koh had shown a “clear and sustained turnaround” over the past year, including committing himself to regular counselling and residential rehabilitation at a rehabilitation home. He is reported to have made good and stable progress over the last three months.

"The offender should be acutely aware that a second chance at probation now given to him is one which in most other cases will not be considered," said Judge Lim. He ruled that "a stringent and exacting probation order best balances all the considerations".

Koh will be placed on a long period of residential supervision and electronic monitoring scheme for four months and will also have to return to court after four months for a progress review before the judge.

  • Maximum penalty for vandalism - S$2,000 fine or three years in jail, with a possible eight strokes of the cane.
  • Maximum penalty for trespassing - S$1,500 fine, three months in jail, or both.
  • Maximum penalty for theft - Three years in jail, fine or both.

Adapted from media reports.