Ladies and Gentlemen,
Singapore's state controlled newspaper Straits Time's online edition of October 22, 2009 has this story, "Loan shark runner jailed". It is the sad story of another instance of this dictatorship's weird punishing laws where a 16 year old girl is being sent to prison for 4 years, because she spray painted a door of a government apartment and attempted to cause a fire to it even though no fire actually occurred.
She did this to a debtor who had owed some money to a loan shark; for a small amount of cash. According to this state controlled newspaper, just as all the newspapers in the island are, loan sharks are becoming a major police problem due to their rise in number occasioned by the economic depression and joblessness in the island. The government's attorney, according to his argument in court, has felt it necessary to send a "unequivocally strong deterrent signal to such youths that they will not be treated lightly because of their age or their clean records"! And the judge agreeing, then decides to send this 16 year old girl, who had no previous criminal record whatsoever, to prison for 4 years.
Let me say this very clearly. Any legal system that sends a 16 year old girl to prison for 4 years simply for vandalizing an apartment door with paint, no matter how serious a police problem there is, is not first world, as claimed by Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's life term dictator. It is not even third world. It is barbaric, worse than the Middle Ages!
And not just that. This is very bad law and very bad jurisprudence. And that is why, despite whatever nonsense Singapore's Minister for Law, Lee Kuan Yew's handpicked K Shanmugam might say, this is hardly London, Paris or Rome. It is not even Kinshasa, the Congo! It is worse than that.
Let me tell you what any first year law student would say. A more severe punishment can be used in cases when a particular crime is rampant, so as to send a deterrent message. On the other hand you also consider the offense itself. Since this is a minor offense, any way you look at it (remember no one was hurt), sending a person to a long prison sentence is simply wrong.
Second, you try to avoid prison sentences, even short ones to juveniles, like this 16year old girl. We never know, this girl might turn out to be a jewel, another Madeline Albright or Golda Meir. You don't want to spoil it by destroying her chances with a long prison sentence, as surely this 4 year prison sentence would do. And I am sure you know what it would do to her. She would come out after 4 years a broken woman, broken in both mind and spirit, a woman who would in all probability be of no further use to society.
Recall, they send me to prison for 3 months to a Singapore jail last year for criticizing the corrupted judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean. But that is not going to affect me, either mentally or otherwise. I am old enough to see through this stupidity. But what about this 16 year old girl. She may have made this mistake at the spur of an unthinking moment. What right does this dictatorship have to destroy her mind and her spirit and any possibly of redemption permanently with this 4 year prison sentence.
In the law of sentencing, you not only think of deterrence. You also look at the crime itself, how serious it is. And what consequences this would have on the defendant. In Singapore on the other hand, all Lee Kuan Yew's corrupt judges know is to simply increase sentences whenever a particular crime is on the rise. This sort of sentencing does not take into account the social psychological and societal consequences. This is simply a wrong system of justice and inimical to Singapore's welfare and development. Instead of nurturing and encouraging the weaker sections of the community, you are simply destroying their spirit entirely.
The punishment should fit the crime, no matter how compelling the argument for severity. In this case it does not. It once again shows proves the observations made by the International Bar Association in their 72 page report on Singapore, that it has a flawed legal system. And no matter how much this man K Shanmugam tries to say that it has the rule of law, we can see how silly his argument is.
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