Law Minister K Shanmugam said the rule of law is fundamental for any civilised society, and both the man arrested for slapping Amos Yee, as well as Amos Yee himself are entitled to their defence in court.
Speaking at the sidelines of a community event yesterday, Mr Shanmugam said questions have also been raised as to why someone as young as Amos Yee was charged.
But he said Yee’s age is a factor for the Court to consider.
“Whether one is guilty, not guilty; what are the defences available, whether the fact of background or youth – these are all factors for the courts to consider. People have said to me: ‘Amos is young, why was he charged?’ I have refrained from commenting because those matters can be brought up in court and we have amended the law quite substantially now, to let the Court take into account these factors,” Mr Shanmugam said.
He added that it is for society to decide the age where criminal responsibility starts.
“Once you have accepted that, then there is criminal responsibility for conduct. Whether a person is or is not guilty is for the courts and what the punishment should be, is also for the courts. But we have amended the law quite substantially to allow the courts a range of options in these matters,” Mr Shanmugam said