Singapore

ITE slasher gets second chance at reform

2015 ITE slashing

An Institute of Technical Education (ITE) student who was supposed to be jailed 18 months and given six strokes of the cane for slashing another teenager on campus got a second chance to redeem himself yesterday.

Muhammad Zuhairie Adely Zulkifli, 17, had slashed Mr Ahmad Nurthaqif Sahed, 18, with a bread knife at ITE College West on March 10, last year.

After the High Court heard an appeal yesterday, which explained his unstable family background, Zuhairie will now undergo reformative training instead.

It's a strict regime to rehabilitate young offenders behind bars that can last between 18 months and three years.

In allowing Zuhairie's appeal, Justice Chan Seng Onn told him he was prepared to give him a chance because he was still young.

Addressing Zuhairie in a stern tone, the judge reminded him he had committed a serious offence and urged him to learn to manage his anger.

"You better make use of this opportunity to reform yourself," the judge said.

THE NEW PAPER, MARCH 1, 2015

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Earlier in the appeal hearing, Zuhairie's lawyer, Mr Benny Tan, said Zuhairie grew up witnessing domestic violence.

Mr Tan added that both of Zuhairie's parents were in and out of jail for drug offences.

In 2012, at the age of 12, he was placed in the care of the Muhammadiyah Welfare Home.

They approached Mr Tan's firm Trident Law Corporation to take up Zuhairie's case.

Mr Tan said Zuhairie was generally a good student when he was studying at NorthLight School and is now studying to retake his N levels.

There are two paths ahead of Zuhairie, said the lawyer.

If he is sent to jail, it was a message the system is giving up on his reform.

If he is sent to a reformative training centre, it would provide an environment his parents did not give him.

The prosecution argued reformative training was not sufficient punishment for the brazen attack and a deterrent sentence was needed in this case.

Zuhairie first met Mr Nurthaqif on March 7 in Clarke Quay.

After he called the victim's girlfriend "baby", Mr Nurthaqif confronted Zuhairie.

Three days later, Mr Nurthaqif went to the ITE College West campus to meet his girlfriend, a first-year student there.

Zuhairie confronted him. He then went to his locker to get a bread knife with a 35cm blade and charged at Mr Nurthaqif, who was with his girlfriend at a large open space known as the Piazza.

Zuhairie slashed Mr Nurthaqif and continued swinging the knife even as the latter tried to run away.

Video clips of the attack, taken by a student, went viral on social media.

The defence played the two clips at yesterday's appeal hearing. - The Straits Times.

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