More reformative training for insulting judge

More reformative training for insulting judge

A loan shark runner who verbally abused a judge was sentenced to another stint of reformative training on Wednesday.

On March 25, Lee Wen Jie, 20, had called District Judge Lee Poh Choo a "stupid judge" and told her to "shut up" before shouting Hokkien expletives during a hearing. He was then in court for unlicensed money-lending offences.

When he found out he could be packed off to the Reformative Training Centre (RTC) in Changi, he told Judge Lee that he wanted to engage a lawyer as he wished to retract his guilty plea. She turned him down and sentenced him to reformative training.

He then burst into a stream of abuse and vulgarities, refusing to calm down when asked by the court interpreter and a police officer, and stopping only after the judge went into her chambers.

Lee, who did not have a lawyer, had pleaded guilty last month to insulting Judge Lee during judicial proceedings.

In a written mitigation tendered to the court, he expressed remorse and apologised for his actions.

He also stated that he intends to complete his Nlevels while in the RTC.

On Wednesday, in passing sentence, District Judge Siva Shanmugam said that the offence usually warranted a significant jail term but in Lee's case the court was more concerned with his rehabilitation because he was still young. Therefore, it would not disrupt his stay at the RTC, the judge said.

Lee, who was wearing a purple prison uniform, had looked around the courtroom several times apparently searching for someone, but seemed disappointed not to spot any familiar faces.

He could have been jailed for up to a year and fined $5,000 for insulting the judge.

His sentence of reformative training will run concurrently with the one imposed in March.

He will serve between 18 months and three years in the RTC, depending upon his conduct and performance. There, he will undergo a strict regime of drills, counselling and vocational training.

khush@sph.com.sg


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