Wong Hong Toy and Another v Public Prosecutor

JudgeChua F A J
Judgment Date09 October 1985
Neutral Citation[1985] SGCA 12
Docket NumberCriminal Appeal No 9 of 1985
Date09 October 1985
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselJB Jeyaretnam and Subhas Anandan (MPD Nair & Co)
Citation[1985] SGCA 12
Defendant CounselTan Teow Yeow (Deputy Public Prosecutor)
CourtCourt of Appeal (Singapore)
Subject MatterHigh Court,Jurisdiction,Meaning,s 44(1) Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 15),Original criminal jurisdiction of High Court,Criminal Procedure and Sentencing

This was an appeal against the refusal of the learned Chief Justice to reserve for the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal some nine questions said to be questions of law of public interest which arose in the course of six magistrate`s appeals which were determined by the Chief Justice. The appeal turned on the statutory construction of s 44(1) of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 15) (the Act) under which it was contended on behalf of the Public Prosecutor that we had no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal on the ground that the learned Chief Justice in refusing to reserve the questions of law under s 60(1) of the Act was exercising the appellate criminal jurisdiction of the High Court or that such a decision of refusing to reserve the questions of law was not ` a decision made by the High Court in the exercise of its original criminal jurisdiction ` (emphasis is added) within the meaning of that critical expression in s 44(1) of the Act. At the conclusion of arguments on this preliminary point of law, which had to be dealt with before, if at all, the hearing of the merits could be embarked upon, we were unanimously of the view that we had no jurisdiction to hear and determine the appeal which we accordingly dismissed. We now give our reasons.

The facts and the course of the prosecution, trials and convictions of the appellants before and by the district court and by the High Court in exercise of its appellate criminal jurisdiction may be stated within a reasonably brief compass.
Central to the proceedings were (a) the appointment on 1 June 1982 by the High Court of a receiver to receive the assets of the Workers` Party, a political party of which the appellants were respectively the Chairman and the Secretary General, which was an execution proceeding invoked by a judgment creditor to recover the costs then owed by the Workers` Party; and (b) the appellants` disposal of the proceeds of three cheques for the sums of $2,000, $200 and $400 which were all drawn in favour of the Workers` Party as the payee in the six months preceding the appointment of the receiver but which, though the property of the Workers` Party, were not paid into the bank account of the Workers` Party but were either endorsed over or altered in one case by the drawer in circumstances in which the Workers` Party did not receive any consideration for the proceeds nor were the transactions reflected in the accounts of the Workers` Party.

In the course of the receivership, the receiver submitted his accounts to the High Court for the purpose of passing them.
To his affidavit in support was annexed a declaration jointly made by the appellants as permitted by O 41 r 5(2) of the Rules of Supreme Court 1970. But the declaration was not made in the form prescribed in the Schedule to the Statutory Declaration Act 1835 which by s 2 of the Singapore Statutory Declarations Act was deemed to be in force in Singapore. Briefly summarized for present purposes, the appellants` joint declaration stated that the receipts and payment account and the income and expenditure account both for the periods between 1 January 1982 and 16 June 1982 and the balance sheet as at 16 June 1982 of the Workers` Party, which were drawn up by the Treasurer of the Workers` Party and exhibited in the High Court, reflected `a true and fair view of the transactions and results for the period specified therein and of the state of affairs of the Workers` Party as at the date specified`.

The $2,000 cheque, as endorsed, was delivered by the first appellant to a firm of solicitors in February 1982 and its proceeds were utilized to pay a judgment debt, not of the Workers` Party, but of one Mdm Chiew, who was the mother of the second appellant`s election agent in the December 1980 General Elections.
The $200 cheque, as endorsed, was paid by the first appellant into his personal account with the Bank of America. The $400 cheque, as altered by the drawer, was encashed by an unknown person. The fact of the receipts of these cheques did not appear in any of the accounting records of the Workers` Party nor were they referred to in the aforesaid accounts prepared by the Treasurer of the Workers` Party.

In the event, the appellants were arraigned before the district court in a joint trial to answer to five charges.
In two charges, they were separately charged for having knowingly made a false statement in a declaration which was by law receivable as evidence and punishable under s 199 read with s 193 of the Penal Code. In the other three charges, at the heart of which were the proceeds of the three cheques, the appellants were jointly charged that in furtherance of a common intention of them both they had fraudulently delivered without adequate consideration to third parties the property of the Workers` Party in the three cheques knowing it to be likely that they would thereby prevent the distribution of the property amongst the creditors of the Workers` Party, which were offences punishable under s 421 read with s 34 of the Penal Code.

At the conclusion of the trial in the district court, the learned senior district judge acquitted and discharged both appellants on the false declaration charges and the two charges relating to the $2,000 cheque and the $200 cheque.
But the learned district judge convicted the appellants on the charge relating to the $400 cheque and sentenced each to pay a fine of $1,000.

The Public Prosecutor in five magistrate appeals appealed to the High Court against the acquittals and the sentences.
Both the appellants appealed to the High Court against their convictions. The appeals were heard by the learned Chief Justice who (a) ordered a new trial before another district judge in respect of the charges relating to the false declaration; (b) found the appellants guilty in respect of the charges relating to the $2,000 cheque and the $200 cheque and sentenced each of them to pay a fine of $1,000 in respect of each charge and in default to serve imprisonment for a period of three weeks; and (c) dismissed the appeal of the Public Prosecutor against the inadequacy of the fines imposed. In doing so, the learned Chief Justice set out his reasons in a long judgment.

In late April this year, the appellants by Criminal Motion No 23 of 1985 moved the High Court `for an order that the decisions of the High Court on the question(s) of law particularised in the affidavit in support be reserved for the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal pursuant to s 60 of the Act`.
The material paragraph of the second appellant`s affidavit set out the questions of law in the following terms:

(i) Magistrate`s Appeals Nos 8 and 9 of 1984

(a) Whether the declaration by the respondents was...

To continue reading

Request your trial
12 cases
  • Attorney General v Lingle and Others
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 6 February 1995
    ... ... against any judicial act as contrary to law or the public good, no court could or would treat that as contempt of ... Another SDP politician, Mr Chee Soon Juan, has encountered ... ...
  • Microsoft Corp and Others v SM Summit Holdings Ltd and Another (No 2)
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 9 March 2000
    ... ... Summit Holdings is a public company and was, at the material time, listed on the SESDAQ Board of the ... question of law referred to it by the High Court or the public prosecutor. Under s 59 the court has jurisdiction to determine any question of law ... The first is the case of Wong Hong Toy & Anor v PP [1984-1985] SLR 298 ... That was a case of an ... ...
  • Kiew Ah Cheng David v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 17 January 2007
    ...conferred on it by legislation. This basic principle had been reiterated on numerous occasions by this court: see Wong Hong Toy v PP [1984-1985] SLR 298 at 304, [16]; Microsoft Corporation v SM Summit Holdings [2000] 2 SLR 137 at [17]; and Lim Choon Chye v PP [1994] 3 SLR 135 at 139, [13]. ......
  • Wong Hong Toy and Another v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 28 April 1987
    ...invalid and to quash the sentences of fine. Held, dismissing the appeal and motions: (1) The decision of the court in Wong Hong Toy [1985-1986] SLR (R) 371 was plainly correct. There was no reason in law justifying a refusal to follow that decision. Section 60 of the SCJA did not confer ori......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT