Chota bin Abdul Razak v Public Prosecutor

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeL P Thean J
Judgment Date14 March 1991
Neutral Citation[1991] SGHC 42
Citation[1991] SGHC 42
Defendant CounselSeng Kwang Boon (Deputy Public Prosecutor)
Date14 March 1991
Docket NumberMagistrate's Appeal No 107/90/01
Plaintiff CounselSant Singh and Gurbachan Singh (Sant Singh & Partners; Khattar Wong & Partners)
Published date19 September 2003
Subject MatterPlea of guilty,ss 5 & 33 Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185),Statement of facts,Criminal Law,Whether a substantive offence,Common intention,Drug trafficking,Complicity,Whether sentence manifestly excessive,Amount of drugs substantial,Court not to be influenced by subsequent legislation enhancing punishment,Criminal Procedure and Sentencing,Purpose to enable court to ascertain whether accused understood plea and that ingredients of offence made out,Sentencing,s 34 Penal Code (Cap 224),Principles,Appeal,s 180 Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68)

The accused, Chota bin Abdul Razak (the accused), in the district court in DAC 2754 of 1987 pleaded guilty to the following charge against him:

You, Chota bin Abdul Razak (m/28), I/C No 1410767-C, are charged that you, on or about 26 March 1987, at about 4.45pm at the void deck of Block 637, Ang Mo Kio Ave 6, Singapore, in furtherance of the common intention with one Tan Chuan Ten (m/27), I/C No 2183701-F, did traffic in a controlled drug specified in Class B of the First Schedule of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185), to wit, by transporting 2.6kg (net) of cannabis in motor pick-up GD 8441D from Ang Mo Kio Street 61 to the car park in front of Block 637, Ang Mo Kio Ave 6, without authorization under the said Act or the Regulations made thereunder, and you have thereby committed an offence under s 5(a) of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185), read with s 34 of the Penal Code (Cap 224), and punishable under s 33 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185).

He was convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of five years and three strokes of the cane. Against the sentence of imprisonment, this appeal is now brought.

The facts as admitted by the accused before the learned district judge were briefly these. On 26 March 1987 at about 4.30pm, a motor pick-up was seen by a party of narcotics officers entering the car park in front of Block 637, Ang Mo Kio Ave 6; these narcotics officers had prior to the time taken up their respective positions in the vicinity. In the motor pick-up were the accused and one Tan Chuan Ten (Tan). The motor pick-up stopped at a parking lot in front of Block 637, and the accused alighted from the vehicle and went to the first floor of the block of flats, while Tan waited at the void deck. The accused was carrying a polythene bag when he went to the first floor. A few minutes later the accused came down, still carrying the polythene bag. He placed the bag on the front passenger seat of the motor pick-up and then joined Tan. A short while later the accused went across to Block 635 where he was seen standing at the telephone stand. When the accused went back to join Tan, he and Tan were arrested. The polythene bag was seized and found to contain 2.6kg of cannabis.

The main arguments of counsel for the accused have been centred on the rather unusual circumstances in which the accused pleaded guilty to the charge, and it is necessary to recount briefly the events leading to his plea and conviction, which have been set out quite fully in the grounds of decision of the learned district judge. The accused was arrested on 26 March 1987 and was produced in the district court and charged. He was released on bail on 4 April 1987. Subsequently, his case was mentioned on three occasions and eventually was fixed for hearing on 9 May 1988. On that day, the case, for some reason, was not heard, and was further mentioned on two other occasions, and on the second occasion it was fixed for hearing on 13 March 1989; five days were allocated for hearing this case.

In the meanwhile, on 22 December 1988 the accused was arrested in connection with two offences of trafficking in and possession of drugs alleged to have been committed on 2 September 1988. On 23 December 1988, he was produced in court and charged for these two offences in DAC 13751 of 1988 and DAC 13752 of 1988; no bail was granted and he was remanded in custody.

The case in DAC 2754 of 1987 was not heard on 13 March 1989 as fixed. It is not clear from the record what happened on that day in relation to this case. Presumably, the accused intended to plead guilty to this charge and it was agreed or decided that all the three charges against the accused should be brought up and dealt with together. On 10 May 1989, the accused appeared before the district judge, Mr Yong Yung Sui; he was represented by counsel. He pleaded guilty to the three charges in DAC 2754 of 1987, DAC 13751 of 1988 and DAC 13752 of 1988 respectively. However, the accused disputed certain facts presented by the prosecution in connection with the charge in DAC 2754 of 1987. I was told, and this was not disputed by the prosecution, that what the accused disputed was the complicity of Tan in the commission of the offence. He admitted that he did traffic in the amount of cannabis as charged. So, in effect, he disputed that there was a common intention subsisting between him and Tan. With reference to the two charges in DAC 13751 of 1988 and DAC 13752 of 1988, there was no dispute on the facts presented by the prosecution. However, his pleas of guilty to the three charges were not accepted and the hearing of all the three cases was...

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21 cases
  • Mok Swee Kok v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 29 July 1994
    ...Ireland v Gallagher [1963] AC 349; [1961] 3 All ER 299 (refd) Chan Wing-Siu v R [1985] AC 168 (refd) Chota bin Abdul Razak v PP [1991] 1 SLR (R) 501; [1991] SLR 675 (folld) Groux's Improved Soap Company, Limited v Cooper (1861) 8 CB NS 800; 141 ER 1380 (refd) John Carter Colquhoun v Henry B......
  • Ngian Chin Boon v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 17 October 1998
    ...statement of facts, the Court of Appeal approved the requirements laid down by LP Thean J (as he then was) in Chota bin Abdul Razak v PP [1991] SLR 675 [1991] 2 MLJ 77 : what is required is the admission by the accused of the offence without qualification. It is therefore essential that wha......
  • Abdul Aziz bin Ahtam v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 2 December 1996
    ...has been acquitted of the charge. Citing the decision of LP Thean J (as he then was) in Chota bin Abdul Razak v PP [1991] 3 MLJ 77; [1991] SLR 675, the court observed that s 34 of the Penal Code does not create a substantive offence; it lays down only a rule of evidence to infer joint respo......
  • Ang Ser Kuang v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 3 September 1998
    ...comprising the offence were not disputed, it did not matter that he did not agree with immaterial particulars: Chota bin Abdul Razak [1991] SLR 675 [1991] 3 MLJ 77 ; Mok Swee Kok v PP [1994] 3 SLR 140 . 45.Hence it followed that the statement of facts had to be treated with circumspection. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal Nbr. 2019, December 2019
    • 1 December 2019
    ...Herbert L Packer, “Two Models of the Criminal Process” (1964) 113 U Pa L Rev 1 at 50. 137 Chota bin Abdul Razak v Public Prosecutor [1991] 1 SLR(R) 501 at [11]; Mok Swee Kok v Public Prosecutor [1994] 3 SLR(R) 134 at [10]; Biplob Hossain Younus Akan v Public Prosecutor [2011] 3 SLR 217 at [......

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