Sticker Lady’s Community Service and Justice
Samantha Lo’s street art, or vandalism or mischief by law, was funny, bold and so popular that many wanted the law to look the other way when she was arrested. “Press Some More” Stickers on traffic lights were borderline fine but “My Grandfather Road” sprayed on the road crossed the line in the eyes of the law. A crime was committed, artistic or not, and the police charged her and her accomplice Anthony Chong with mischief. Fortunately for her, the police did not get carried away and charged her with vandalism instead which entailed a harsher punishment. The Cenotaph vandal would have wished for a mischief rather than a vandalism charge that he was slapped with.
Furthermore, fortunately for Samantha, the court then sentenced her to community service of 240 hours or about 30 8hr days, rather than a harsher penalty e.g. the maximum sentence of mischief under Section 426 is a one year jail and/or fine. Again the court was enlightened enough to give a community service sentence to rehabilitate the offender. One past example was the racist blogger Gan Huai Shi who was charged under the Sedition Act and was sentenced 180 hours of community service rather than a maximum 3 year jail or maximum $5,000 fine sentence. The enlightened court then realised that he was a youth and there were mitigating circumstances for a community service sentence.
Is humour the Get Out of Jail card in crime? Joker in the Batman comics is a pop culture example that humour is not a shield in court and a funny lawbreaker does not get away with his actions.
The court however should have the decency and common sense to slap hard or tap softly on the offender regardless of the existence or absence of humour in unlawful acts. The Cenotaph vandal should not get leniency as his crime offends by law and culturally. In contrast, the Sticker Lady’s action is not of the same magnitude and her punishment is hence creative. Her talent can be put to good use e.g. doing sanctioned public murals to give back to the community, and is also lenient compared to the by the book alternatives.
Related to the idea of creative and rehabilitative justice, should Leslie Chew be given a light tap on the hand and given community service as well for his not-so-funny dumb Demon-cratic cartoons? Or should the book be thrown at him as allowed under the penalties of being charged under the Sedition Act? I hope the court would be enlightened too in that case.