Aw Kew Lim and Others v Public Prosecutor

JudgeChan Sek Keong JC
Judgment Date31 July 1987
Neutral Citation[1987] SGHC 33
Citation[1987] SGHC 33
Defendant CounselGeraldine Pang (Deputy Public Prosecutor)
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselV Ramayah (Wee Ramayah & Partners)
Date31 July 1987
Docket NumberMagistrate's Appeal No 239 of 1984
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Subject Matters 35 Evidence Act (Cap 97),Whether hearsay evidence,Possession of pirated cassette tapes,Admissibility of evidence,Infringement,s 369(1) Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68),Evidence,Hearsay,s 3(1) Copyright (Gramophone Records and Government Broadcasting) Act (Cap 64),Whether evidence sufficient to connect accused to tapes,Computer printout from Registry of Companies and Businesses,Whether prosecution had made out a prima facie case,Whether admissible,s 16 Business Registration Act (Cap 32),Copyright

This is an appeal by all six appellants who were jointly charged with and convicted by the Subordinate Court for 19 offences under s 3(1) of the Copyright (Gramophone Records and Government Broadcasting) Act (now Cap 64) for having in their possession for sale on or about 25 February 1983 at No 296 Lucky Plaza, Second Floor, Orchard Road, Singapore 0923, a number of pirated copies of gramophone records of various songs which included `Sheena Easton - 9 to 5`, `Beatles - I Saw Her Standing There`. They were sentenced to a fine of $200 each for each charge or in default ten days` imprisonment for each charge. The court further ordered that all tapes seized be forfeited to the complainant for destruction.

The evidence adduced by the prosecution was as follows.
On 25 February 1983, the police, armed with a search warrant, and in the company of representatives of the record company, entered and searched the shop premises of a firm known as Supreme Record Centre at Lucky Plaza. The party identified and picked out 793 cassette tapes on display which were suspected to be pirated copies of songs which were protected by copyright in Singapore. There were two salesgirls at the shop. One of them telephoned the owners to call at the shop but no one turned up.

At the trial, the various cassette tapes which formed the subject matter of the charges were proved to be pirated copies by affidavit evidence and admitted in accordance with s 5 of the Act.

The prosecution also produced in evidence to prove the identities of the partners of Supreme Record Centre a document from the Registry of Companies with the title `INSTANT INFORMATION SERVICE` (exh P20).
Counsel for the accused did not object to the admission in evidence of P20. This document was a computer printout obtained from the Registry of Companies and Businesses. It contained, inter alia, the following information: the name of the firm, its constitution (ie sole proprietorship or partnership), its principal place of business and branches, the date of registration, its activities, the names and addresses of the partners and the manager and their dates of entry to and withdrawal from such positions. At the end of this document is a statement as follows: `The above information is updated to seven days from the date shown below.` The date shown below was 5 March 1984 and the document was initialled by an unidentified person `for Registrar of Companies & Businesses`.

The above, in short, was the state of the evidence at the close of the prosecution`s case.
Counsel for the accused made a submission of no case to answer on various grounds which have been abandoned in this appeal. However, counsel for the accused, in and for the purpose of his submission, `conceded that the accused had in their possession for sale the alleged pirated copies of gramophone records` (ie within the statutory definition of that term).

The district judge called for the defence.
The accused elected not to give evidence and they were accordingly convicted.

On appeal, counsel for the appellants submitted that the conviction was wrong as there was insufficient evidence to support an essential ingredient of the offence, namely `possession` by the appellants.
This submission contained two separate elements: (1) there was no evidence to connect the appellants to the cassette tapes and (2) `possession` in s 3 of the Act required mens rea, of which there was no evidence in regard to the appellants.

On the first point, counsel submitted

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7 cases
  • Lim Mong Hong v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 22 July 2003
    ...the testimonies of Tan and Yip: at [45] and [46]. Ang Jwee Herng v PP [2001] 1 SLR (R) 720; [2001] 2 SLR 474 (folld) Aw Kew Lim v PP [1987] SLR (R) 443; [1987] SLR 410 (distd) Clarke v Edinburgh and District Tramways Company Limited [1919] SC (HL) 35 (folld) PP v Ang Soon Huat [1990] 2 SLR ......
  • Roy S Selvarajah v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 11 August 1998
    ...offenders from abetting illegal overstayers to remain in Singapore, the sentence imposed was not excessive: at [67]. Aw Kew Lim v PP [1987] SLR (R) 443; [1987] SLR 410 (folld) Daw Aye Aye Mu v PP [1998] 1 SLR (R) 175; [1998] 2 SLR 64 (refd) Govindarajulu Murali v PP [1994] 2 SLR (R) 398; [1......
  • Beh Chai Hock v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 17 September 1996 enter his defence. He should have been acquitted on the ground that there was no case to answer.In Aw Kew Lim v PP [1987] 2 MLJ 601; [1987] SLR 410, the accused persons were convicted of copyright offences. The prosecution had relied on a computer printout from the Registry of Companies ......
  • Public Prosecutor v Ang Soon Huat
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 1 October 1990
    ...particularly where a finding in a higher degree would give rise to a mandatory sentence of death: at [57] to [60]. Aw Kew Lim v PP [1987] SLR (R) 443; [1987] SLR 410 (distd) Castle v Cross [1984] 1 WLR 1372; [1985] 1 All ER 87 (folld) Garner v DPP [1990] 90 Cr App R 178 (folld) Haw Tua Tau ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2021, December 2021
    • 1 December 2021 paras 5.21–5.24 for a discussion about whether a document typed into a computer and subsequently printed out is computer output. 87 [1987] SLR(R) 443. 88 See, eg, Jackson v R [2011] EWCA Crim 1870; Attorney General's Reference No 114–115 of 2009 [2010] EWCA Crim 1459, Annexure A; Najib v......

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