Man jailed 11 weeks for stealing e-bike, causing hurt

Hannah Teoh
Senior Content Producer
Getty Images photo illustration of an e-bike

While serving probation for punching someone, a 21-year-old national serviceman stole an electric bicycle parked at a building.

The two offences landed Vernon Lee Jun Wei with a total jail term of 11 weeks after he pleaded guilty to theft and voluntarily causing hurt.

On Thursday (14 December), the State Courts heard that Lee found the e-bike parked at SLF building on the evening of 5 April this year. Lee had been at the nearby Ministry of Social and Family Development building to attend a violence prevention programme.

Lee called a friend and asked the friend how to re-wire the bike, with the intention of stealing it. He also lied to a passer-by that he had lost the keys to the bike and asked for a sharp object to cut the wire on the bike. The passer-by obtained a pair of scissors for him to cut the wire.

After re-wiring the bike, he rode it away and used some of its parts to modify his own e-bike.

Lee stole the e-bike while he was serving 36 months of probation for a charge of voluntarily causing hurt. He and another had punched a man outside Sakura pub sometime in June 2015 after confronting the man about an alleged staring incident. Lee’s victim sustained a fractured nasal bone which required surgical correction.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Amanda Sum pointed out that Lee committing the theft was in breach of probation, and that his probation report said it was not recommended that probation should continue.

Sum added that there was a high degree of premeditation involved in how he came up with the plan to steal the bike, and he even lied to a passer-by for help. Lee also did not make any restitution for the theft. The e-bike was valued at $900.

Sum sought a jail term of five weeks for stealing the e-bike, and another six weeks for voluntarily causing hurt. Lee’s victim suffered serious injuries in the “vicious” attack where he was punched in the face three times, said Sum.

Lee’s previous convictions include charges of voluntarily causing hurt.

Lee’s lawyer A P M Ferlin Jayatissa said his client was a “young, foolish gentleman” and asked the court for leniency by imposing a fine.

District Judge Mathew Joseph said Lee used a “high level of planning” in carrying out the theft and said it was “audacious” that he committed the offence while placed on probation.

“Surely you cannot be asking for a fine in this situation,” said DJ Joseph.

Addressing Lee, DJ Joseph said, “The way you went about this shows a dark streak in you… you seem to be getting more and more bold.”

“To reoffend while on probation, the court takes it very seriously. I find your conduct quite deplorable,” added DJ Joseph.

The judge agreed with the prosecution about the aggravating factors in the case and sentenced Lee to five weeks’ jail for theft, and six weeks’ jail for voluntarily causing hurt, with the two terms to run consecutively.

For theft, Lee could have been jailed up to three years, fined or both.

For voluntarily causing hurt, Lee could have been jailed up to two years, fined up to $5,000 or both.

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