Chan Chun Yee v Public Prosecutor

JurisdictionSingapore
JudgeYong Pung How CJ
Judgment Date17 August 1998
Neutral Citation[1998] SGHC 277
Docket NumberCriminal Motion No 17 of 1998 and
Date17 August 1998
Year1998
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselMorris Yow Choon Seng (David Chong & Co)
Citation[1998] SGHC 277
Defendant CounselFoo Cheow Ming (Deputy Public Prosecutor)
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Subject MatterSafeguards for ensuring validity,Whether petitioner's plea of guilt valid,Whether petitioner induced to plead guilty by immigration officer's representations,Whether evidence available at time of trial,Whether additional evidence sought to be admitted apparently credible,Criminal Procedure and Sentencing,Whether evidence should be admitted in interest of justice,Whether petitioner held belief he was entitled to remain in Singapore,Adducing fresh evidence,Plea of guilty,Appeal
Judgment:

YONG PUNG HOW JC

The petitioner pleaded guilty and was convicted of remaining in Singapore after the expiry of his social visit pass for three months and seven days without reasonable cause, an offence under s 15(1) Immigration Act (Cap 133, 1997 Ed). He sought revision of his conviction and also applied in Criminal Motion 17/98 to admit his affidavit filed on 6 August 1998 and oral evidence at the hearing of the criminal revision. I dismissed the motion and the petition and now give my reasons.

2. Facts

On 22 July 1998, the petitioner was charged in the district court as follows:

You, Chan Chun Yee (M/29.2.68) 30 years old Malaysian Passport No: H101507 are charged that you, from 15 April 1998 to 21 July 1998 did contravene the provisions of s 15(1) of the Immigration Act (Cap 133), to wit, that without reasonable cause, you did remain in Singapore after the expiry of the visit pass issued to you on 31 March 1998 permitting you to remain in Singapore till 14 April 1998 and you have thereby committed an offence under s 15(3), punishable under s 15(3)(b) of the Immigration Act (Cap 133) as amended by the Immigration (Amendment) Act 1995.

3.The petitioner appeared in person and pleaded guilty after the charge was read and explained to him in Mandarin and he was told the nature and consequences of his plea. He admitted the statement of facts in support of the charge without qualification. The statement stated:

The accused, a Malaysian national, 30 years of age, was arrested by Immigration officers on 21 July 1998 for having overstayed in Singapore.

2 Investigation revealed that the accused arrived in Singapore on 31 March 1998 and was granted a visit pass valid till 14 April 1998. Upon expiry of the visit pass on 14 April 1998, the accused did not leave Singapore or apply for extension of stay. He then remained there unlawfully.

3 Investigation also revealed that the accused`s purpose here was to seek employment.

4 The accused had up to the time of his arrest on 21 July 1998, remained unlawfully in Singapore for a period of three months and seven days and has therefore committed an offence punishable under s 15(3)(b) of the Immigration Act (Cap 133).

4.The petitioner was convicted of this charge. A second charge of having in his possession a forged Singapore Immigration social visit pass endorsement was taken into consideration for sentencing. In mitigation, the petitioner asked for leniency. The district judge sentenced him to two months` imprisonment and four strokes of the cane.

5.Notwithstanding his plea of guilty in the district court, the petitioner filed a petition for criminal revision asking the High Court to exercise its revisionary powers under s 268 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68) (CPC) to quash the conviction on the ground that the conviction was unsafe and unsatisfactory. In order to show that the conviction was unsatisfactory, he applied for leave to adduce fresh evidence to show that he had a valid defence to the charge, namely, that he held the belief that he was entitled to remain in Singapore by virtue of the special pass endorsed on his passport.

6. The criminal motion

Before me, the petitioner applied for leave to adduce his affidavit in support of his application to adduce fresh evidence, which essentially said that he held the belief that the endorsements on his passport were genuine and that he was entitled to remain in Singapore.

7.Section 268(1) CPC makes it clear that the revisionary powers of the High Court include the power to order the taking of additional evidence in accordance with s 257(1). The principles to be followed in deciding if additional evidence should be taken are set out in Juma`at bin Samad v PP [1993] 3 SLR 338 , Carl Elias v PP [1995] 2 SLR 501 , applying the principles in Ladd v Marshall [1954] 3 All ER 745. Briefly, first, it must be shown that the evidence could not have been obtained with reasonable diligence for use at the trial; secondly, the evidence must be such that, if given at the trial, it would probably have an important influence on the result of the case, although it need not be decisive; and thirdly, the evidence must be apparently credible although it need not be incontrovertible.

8.Applying the principles above to the present case, it was clear that the first condition was not satisfied. The evidence of the petitioner of his own belief that he was entitled to remain in Singapore was clearly available at the time of the trial and the petitioner could well have claimed trial and explained to the district court his belief that the endorsements on the passport were genuine.

9.In Juma`at bin Samad , the court held that:

It is true that there are situations where the court would allow additional evidence to be called even though it could not be strictly said that the evidence was not available at the time of trial, if it can be shown that a miscarriage of justice has resulted. The core principle of s 257 CPC after all, is that additional evidence may be taken if it is necessary in the interests of justice. That said, it must be emphasised in no uncertain terms that such a situation will arise only in the most extraordinary circumstances.

10.There were no grounds here for invoking the exception in the interests of justice and counsel did not provide any. This is a narrow exception and is warranted only by the most extenuating circumstances, which may include the fact that the offence is a serious one attracting grave consequences and the fact that the additional evidence sought to be adduced is highly cogent and pertinent and the strength of which renders the conviction unsafe. Counsel argued that there were exceptional circumstances, being that the petitioner failed to understand the nature and consequences of the plea and that he was confused or intimidated by the proceedings which led him to plead guilty. These are circumstances which are clearly relevant only to the criminal revision in seeking to retract the plea of guilt and not to the...

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  • Lee Yuen Hong v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
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    ...... the additional evidence sought to be adduced is highly cogent and pertinent and the strength of which renders the conviction unsafe ` (see Chan Chun Yee v PP [1998] 3 SLR 638 , 641). If there was sufficient evidence that $2,000 had been deposited into Don Wee`s bank account, the outcome ......
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    • 27 Marzo 2002
    ...Code that fresh evidence should be received in the interests of justice: Lee Yuen Hong v PP [2000] 2 SLR 339; Chan Chun Yee v PP [1998] 3 SLR 638. Be that as it may, I was of the opinion that the present situation did not fall within the ambit of the exception, for the very simple reason th......
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    ...... The `extraordinary circumstances` in which further evidence available at the time of the trial will be admitted on appeal were amplified in Chan Chun Yee v PP [1998] 3 SLR 638 , where I stressed that this exception is . . a narrow exception and is warranted only by the most ......
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3 books & journal articles
  • Criminal Procedure, Evidence and Sentencing
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2004, December 2004
    • 1 Diciembre 2004
    ...of a balance of probabilities or merely raising reasonable doubt as to his guilt. He further noted that the court in Chan Chun Yee v PP[1998] 3 SLR 638 had alluded to the balance of probabilities test, though only in passing. However, as he was satisfied that the petitioner had satisfied th......
  • Revenue and Tax Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2005, December 2005
    • 1 Diciembre 2005
    ...v Marshall[1954] 1 WLR 1489 which had been adopted in the previous cases of Juma”at bin Samad v PP[1993] 3 SLR 338 and Chan Chun Yee v PP[1998] 3 SLR 638, the High Court found (at [24]) that there was no basis to grant leave to adduce the additional evidence. Yong Pung How CJ also considere......
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    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2002, December 2002
    • 1 Diciembre 2002
    ...1989, Parliamentary Debates vol 52 col 598—621. 80 Section 15, Immigration Act. 81 15 Apr 1998, High Court, Criminal Revision 2/1998. 82 [1998] 3 SLR 638. 83 Ibid, at 644. 84 [1998] 2 SLR 64. 85 [1998] 2 SLR 165. 86 [1998] 3 SLR 517. 87 See discussion, supra. 88 [2000] 3 SLR 439. 89 Ibid, a......

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