Norizan Binte Indun & Another v Public Prosecutor

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeSalina Bte Ishak
Judgment Date22 July 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] SGDC 179
Citation[2002] SGDC 179
Published date19 September 2003

Judgment: GROUNDS OF DECISION

The Charges

The Accused person, Norizan Binte Indun@ Norizan Binte Endon, F/40 years faced a total of 40 charges of theft of various amounts from the savings account of one Koh Tiang Huat under Section 379 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224. The Accused claimed trial to all 14 charges

2. At the close of the entire case, I found that the prosecution had made out its case against the Accused on all 14 charges and found her guilty and convicted her accordingly. In respect of each of the 14 charges, I sentenced her to four months imprisonment. I also ordered three of the charges, namely DAC32714-01, DAC 32715-01 and DAC 32716-01 to run consecutively and the remaining eleven charges DAC 32717-01 to DAC 32727-01 to run concurrently with the earlier three charges. Accordingly, the Accused has to serve a total of twelve months imprisonment. She is dissatisfied with the conviction and is now appealing against my decision. My reasons are set out below.

3. As the charges are similar in nature save for the amount, the date of offence as well as the location of the withdrawals, I have set out the particulars of the respective charges, in chronological order below.

Charge No & amt

Amount withdrawn

Withdrawal Date, Time & Terminal Location

7th - $800

$1000

31.7.2000 - 02:11 - Bukit Panjang Branch
1st - $1000

$1000

31.7.2000 - 02:12 - Bukit Panjang Branch
2nd - $1000

$1000

01.8.2000 - 16:50 - Toa Payoh Service Centre
3rd - $1000

$1000

01.8.2000 - 16:51 - Toa Payoh Service Centre
8th - $750

$1000

18.8.2000 - 12.00 - Toa Payoh Service Centre
9th - $750

$1000

30.8.2000 - 18:12 - Toa Payoh Service Centre
10th- $750

$1000

02.9.2000 - 10:10 - Toa Payoh Service Centre
11th - $800

$1000

08.9.2000 - 00:43 - Toa Payoh MRT
4th - $1000

$1000

12.9.2000 - 15:36 - Seiyu Bugis Junction
12th - $700

$700

12.9.2000 - 15:39 - Seiyu Bugis Junction
13th - $200

$200

12.9.2000- 18:41 - Zhenghua Branch
5th - $1000

$1000

13.9.2000 - 14:58 - 7-11 Changi
6th - $1000

$1000

17.9.2000 - 17:34 - Bukit Panjang Branch
14th - $750

$1000

22.9.2000 – 13:21 – Toa Payoh Service Centre
Total Total
$11,500 $12,900

4. It was the prosecution’s case that the series of theft was committed by the Accused when a total sum of $11,500 was withdrawn by the Accused from the victim’s savings account without his knowledge and consent. In order to establish its case against the Accused, the prosecution relied mainly on the records of transactions between the period of 31.7.2000 to 22.9.2000, as reflected in the victim’s OUB Savings Passbook, Exhibit P19 as well as the letter from OUB Bank, Exhibit P 17 together with the victim’s own limited recollection of the events that transpired.

5. In contrast, it was the case for the defence that these withdrawals were made with the victim’s knowledge and consent. It was also not disputed that the Accused herself was responsible for thirteen out of the fourteen withdrawals from the victim’s saving’s account. As for the remaining withdrawal on 1.9.2000, it was alleged that the victim himself made the withdrawal before giving the money to the Accused and that the Accused was not present when this withdrawal was made. As only the circumstances surrounding the fourteen withdrawals and not the withdrawals themselves are disputed, I shall only deal with the evidence on this aspect.

The Prosecution’s Case

6. It was the prosecution’s case that for eight out of the fourteen charges faced by the Accused, the offence of theft were committed when these withdrawals were made without the knowledge and consent of the victim. As for the remaining six charges, the prosecution had factored in the amounts the victim had intended to lend the Accused against the amounts that were actually withdrawn without the victim’s knowledge and consent, to form the basis of the remaining six charges. This is apparent from the table of charges above.

The Victim’s evidence

7. The victim in this case is one Koh Tiang Huat, male 62 years, residing at Block 174 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, #04-1246, Singapore. He was a tourist bus driver with HTL, earning about $200 to $300 a month. He stopped work in June 2001 when he was diagnosed as suffering from cancer. He testified that he was illiterate as he was unable to speak or write in English. He also had difficulty comprehending figures involving more than four digits.

The Victim’s Relationship with the Accused

8. The victim testified that he and the Accused were merely casual friends. He also testified that they had a platonic relationship and did not consider himself and the Accused as a couple. This was because of their different racial background and the fact that he had considered himself as being "already very old". Furthermore, the victim had similarly considered Mohamed Bin Malek(PW 1), Maniah Binte Alwi(PW 5) as his friends. Whenever the four of them i.e. PW 1, PW 5, the Accused and the victim, were together at the coffee shop, he would buy cigarettes and would offer them to all of his friends and not only to the Accused.

9. The victim first got to know the Accused when she assisted PW 1 and PW 5, at a coffee shop at Block 160 Toa Payoh. At that point in time, the Accused was staying at the third level of Block 160 Toa Payoh together with her mother, her uncle and one of her three sons. When the Accused relocated from her mother’s rented flat at Block 160 Toa Payoh to the Accused matrimonial home at Block 123, #04-46 Pending Road, the victim together with PW 1 and PW 5, had assisted the Accused. The victim had used his bus to convey the Accused as well as her mother’s belongings and this was the only occasion he had gone to her house.

The Victim’s OUB Passbook and AutoCash card

10. The victim testified that he had a joint savings account with his younger brother, Koh Tiang Soon, with the Overseas Union Bank("OUB"). He testified that his younger brother did not take any interest in this account. The victim also testified that the savings derived from his salary as well as winnings from lottery were kept in this OUB account. He gave evidence that he seldom withdrew money from this account and would only withdraw between $100 to $200 on these occasions. According to the victim prior to 31st July 2000, the balance in this account was more than $10,000.

11. The victim testified that he did not know how to use his ATM card. Whenever he needed to money, he would make withdrawals over the counter at the bank by affixing his thumbprint on the withdrawal slips. On these occasions, he stressed that he would normally withdraw only sums such as $100, $150 and $250 and not more than these amounts. The money was often withdrawn whenever his motorcycle needed repairs.

12. The victim testified that the Accused had approached him to borrow money on more than one occasion. The victim gave evidence that the Accused had in fact borrowed the victim’s card on at least four different occasions and had kept it with her for several days instead of returning to him on the same day. On each of these occasions, whenever he lent his ATM card to the Accused, he would make two things clear to the Accused. Firstly, it was only a loan which was to be repaid upon the sale of her flat. Secondly, the Accused could withdraw no more than amounts of $100, $150, $200 or $250 on each occasion.

Seventh and first charge – 31.7.2000

13. On the evening of 30.7.2000, the Accused had approached the victim for a loan of between $200 to $250 at Toa Payoh Central, at or near the coffeeshop where they usually met their friends for coffee. The victim agreed to lend her the money as she told him that she would pay him back once her flat was sold. The Accused told the victim that according to her lawyer if she did not pay up the money by a certain time that night she would have to be placed in the lock up and her friends would not be able to see her anymore.

14. The victim testified that he was moved by compassion and agreed to help her. As the Accused needed the money urgently and the bank was already closed, the victim decided to lend his ATM card to enable her to make the withdrawal. The victim did not go to the ATM machine to make the withdrawal but was told by the Accused to wait at MacDonald’s. Accordingly, he waited at Mac Donald’s for half an hour for her return. When the Accused came back, she did not return the victim’s card. When asked by the victim for his card, the Accused gave excuses and eventually left the victim without returning the card to him. During cross-examination, the victim clarified that the Accused did not withdraw any money when the card was given to her on 30.7.2000. The victim testified that when he requested for the return of the card, the Accused told him that she would only withdraw the money the following day i.e. 31.7.2000.

15. Unknown to the victim, the Accused had used the victim’s ATM card to withdraw the sum of $1000 twice at 2.11 am and 2.12 am respectively on 31.7.2000 at the UOB ATM terminal at Bukit Panjang. When asked by the prosecution, the victim testified that he had not withdrawn the total sum of $2000 on 31.7.2000 and had only allowed the Accused to withdraw between $200 to $250. He also testified that he was not with the Accused at that point in time as he was at home asleep.

Second and third charge – 1.8.2000

16. The victim gave evidence that his ATM card was only returned to him by the Accused on 3.8.2000 at the MacDonalds located at Toa Payoh Central. This was after he had called the Accused several times to request for the return of his card. Between 31.7.2000 and 3.8.2000, the card was with the Accused and he was unaware of what had happened to the monies in his account. When asked about the 2 withdrawals of $1000 each at 4.50 p.m. and 4.51 p.m. respectively on 1.8.2000 at OUB Toa Payoh Service Centre terminal, the victim...

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