Abdullah bin A Rahman v Public Prosecutor

JurisdictionSingapore
Judgment Date30 July 1994
Date30 July 1994
Docket NumberCriminal Motion No 13 of 1994
CourtCourt of Appeal (Singapore)
Abdullah bin A Rahman
Plaintiff
and
Public Prosecutor
Defendant

[1994] SGCA 91

Yong Pung How CJ

,

M Karthigesu JA

and

L P Thean JA

Criminal Motion No 13 of 1994

Court of Appeal

Courts and Jurisdiction–Court of Appeal–Criminal jurisdiction–Whether Court of Appeal had jurisdiction to reopen case and admit new evidence after appeal had been heard and dismissed–Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322, 1985 Rev Ed)–Courts and Jurisdiction–Court judgments–Whether court had to serve notice to affected parties of intention to review existing case law–Section 30 Evidence Act (Cap 97, 1990 Rev Ed)–Criminal Procedure and Sentencing–Appeal–Adducing fresh evidence–Leave to adduce fresh evidence after appeal disposed of by Court of Appeal–Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322, 1985 Rev Ed)

The applicant was charged with abetting one Rashid in the trafficking of 76.3g of diamorphine. The applicant and Rashid were jointly tried and sentenced to death. Their appeals to the Court of Appeal were dismissed and their subsequent pleas of clemency to the President were also denied. Three days before their death penalties were scheduled to be carried out, Rashid told the applicant that the long statement he had given to the investigating officer and his testimony in court were a total fabrication. The applicant conveyed this information to his counsel who made the present application to adduce Rashid's retraction as fresh evidence. Counsel relied on ss 29A (4) and 55 (1) of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322, 1985 Rev Ed) (“the SCJA”) to assert that the Court of Appeal had discretion to admit additional evidence to determine “any question” before the court or in “any” appeal if the justice of the case required such course of action. Counsel also argued that he did not have notice that the court intended to depart from its earlier interpretation of s 30 of the Evidence Act, otherwise he would have made submissions on this point.

Held, dismissing the motion:

(1) The Court of Appeal was a creature of legislation and its criminal jurisdiction was defined and limited by ss 29A (2), 44, 59 and 60 of the SCJA: at [7] and [11].

(2) The Court of Appeal could not exercise its powers in matters over which it had no jurisdiction: at [11].

(3) The SCJA provisions above that conferred criminal jurisdiction on the Court of Appeal did not extend to a situation where the court had heard and disposed of an appeal. In such situations, the court had no jurisdiction to reopen the case and hear fresh evidence. Parliament had not legislated continuous supervision by the Court of Appeal over convicted persons or to act whenever there was a change of circumstance: at [10] and [13].

(4) Section 55 (1) of the SCJA empowered the Court of Appeal to admit additional evidence in cases which the court already had jurisdiction. The provision did not mean the court could receive fresh evidence at any time; if this were so, there would be no finality to any appeal: at [12].

(5) The Court of Appeal's decision in Chin Seow Noi v PP [1993] 3 SLR (R) 566 to adopt a different interpretation of s 30 of the Evidence Act (Cap 97, 1990 Rev Ed) from the earlier case of Ramachandran a/l Suppiah v PP [1993] 2 SLR (R) 392 did not create any procedural rights for the applicant. There was no requirement imposed on the court to give notice to the affected parties with pending appeals whenever it intended to review the law in a particular area: at [16].

Abdul Rashid bin Mohamed v PP [1993] 3 SLR (R) 656; [1994] 1 SLR 119 (refd)

Chin Seow Noi v PP [1993] 3 SLR (R) 566; [1994] 1 SLR 135 (refd)

Kuruma, Son of Kaniu v R [1955] AC 197 (refd)

Mohamad Kunjo s/o Ramalan v PP [1979] AC 135 (refd)

Ong Ah Chuan v PP [1979-1980] SLR (R) 53; [1980-1981] SLR 48 (refd)

PP v Abdul Rashid [1993] 2 SLR (R) 848; [1993] 3 SLR 794 (refd)

R v Pinfold [1988] QB 462 (refd)

Ramachandran a/l Suppiah v PP [1993] 2 SLR (R) 392; [1993] 2 SLR 671 (refd)

Evidence Act (Cap 97, 1990 Rev Ed) s 30 (consd)

Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322, 1985 Rev Ed) ss 29A (2), 29A (4), 44, 54, 55, 59, 60

Criminal Appeal Act 1968 (c 19) (UK) s 17

P Suppiah (P Suppiah & Co) for the applicant

Bala Reddy and Chng Lye Beng (Deputy Public Prosecutors) for the respondent.

Yong Pung How CJ

(delivering the grounds of judgment of the court):

1 In this criminal motion the...

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25 cases
  • Ng Chye Huey and another v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 24 Enero 2007
    ...M Ravi (M Ravi & Co) for the applicants Hay Hung Chun (Deputy Public Prosecutor) for the respondent. Abdullah bin A Rahman v PP [1994] 2 SLR (R) 1017; [1994] 3 SLR 129 (folld) Ang Cheng Hai v PP [1995] 3 SLR (R) 151; [1995] 3 SLR 201 (refd) Ang Poh Chuan v PP [1995] 3 SLR (R) 929; [1996] 1 ......
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    ...the following authorities: Blenwel Agencies Pte Ltd v Tan Lee King [2008] 2 SLR(R) 529, Abdullah bin A Rahman v Public Prosecutor [1994] 2 SLR(R) 1017, Lim Choon Chye v Public Prosecutor [1994] 2 SLR(R) 1024, Lye Thai Sang & Anor v Faber Merlin (M) Sdn Bhd & Ors [1986] 1 MLJ 166 and Denko-H......
  • Yong Vui Kong v PP
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    • 31 Diciembre 2009
    ...of the previous cases in which the Court of Appeal had made observations with regard to this question (in Abdullah bin A Rahman v PP [1994] 2 SLR (R) 1017, Lim Choon Chye v PP [1994] 2 SLR (R) 1024, Jabar bin Kadermastan v PP [1995] 1 SLR (R) 326, Vignes s/o Mourthi v PP [2003] 4 SLR (R) 51......
  • Ramalingam Ravinthran v Attorney-General
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 10 Enero 2012
    ...principle, as enunciated in Lim Choon Chye v Public Prosecutor [1994] 2 SLR(R) 1024 at [8], Abdullah bin A Rahman v Public Prosecutor [1994] 2 SLR(R) 1017 at [10] and Vignes s/o Mourthi v Public Prosecutor [2003] 4 SLR(R) 518 at [4]–[8] (which cases will hereafter be called “the Vignes line......
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2 books & journal articles
  • Criminal Procedure, Evidence and Sentencing
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2006, December 2006
    • 1 Diciembre 2006
    ...it is functus officio as far as that appeal is concerned: see Lim Choon Chye v PP[1994] 3 SLR 135 at [8], Abdullah bin A Rahman v PP[1994] 3 SLR 129 at 132 and Vignes s/o Mourthi v PP (No 3)[2003] 4 SLR 518 at [4] to [8]. The reason given in those judgments as to why the Court of Appeal can......
  • Criminal Procedure, Evidence and Sentencing
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2003, December 2003
    • 1 Diciembre 2003
    ...The appellant appealed against Lai J”s decision. 11.14 The Court of Appeal followed the earlier decisions in Abdullah bin A Rahman v PP[1994] 3 SLR 129 and Lim Choon Chye v PP[1994] 3 SLR 135 and confirmed that once the Court of Appeal has rendered judgment in an appeal heard by it, it is f......

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