How Hoe Nam v Public Prosecutor

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeMavis Chionh Sze Chyi
Judgment Date24 October 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] SGDC 268
Citation[2002] SGDC 268
Published date19 September 2003



The facts

1. The accused, a 32 year-old female, pleaded guilty before me to one charge under s 408 of the Penal Code (Cap 224). The charge alleged that whilst employed as a Team Leader by Dynasty Travel International Pte Ltd, she dishonestly misappropriated cash with which she had been entrusted: namely, sums amounting to $11,379. According to the statement of facts, the accused was in charge of selling air-tickets to "walk-in" customers". She was entrusted with the proceeds of such sales, which proceeds she had to remit to the company’s accounts department at the end of each day. Between 31 May 2002 and 28 June 2002, the accused siphoned off from these sale proceeds sums totalling $11,379, which she converted to her own use.

The factors relevant to sentencing

2. After the accused had pleaded guilty, I was informed that she had no antecedents. In mitigation, she informed me that she regretted what she had done. She stated that she needed to return to work soon, as she was supporting her 80 year-old mother and her brothers were not working.

3. In addition, the statement of facts disclosed that out of the total amount of $11,379 misappropriated, the accused had made partial restitution of $3,793.

4. In sentencing the accused, I kept in mind the judgment of the High Court in Gopalakrishnan Vanitha v PP [1999] 4 SLR 307. The appellant in that case was convicted after trial on 3 separate charges under s 408 of the Penal Code. She committed criminal breach of trust by dishonestly misappropriating $11,369.73, $12,400, and $30,113.29 respectively. Her modus operandi lay in making out blank company cheques to her own account, in her capacity as the confidential secretary of her company. She was sentenced to 9 months’ imprisonment on each charge, with two of the imprisonment terms running consecutively. She was a first offender. In dismissing her appeal against conviction and sentence, the High Court stated that "the sentence imposed for these types of offences depended on the value of the sums misappropriated and that for the amounts involved such as in the present case, the sentence ranged from 9 to 15 months` imprisonment". The High Court declined to disturb the sentence imposed: the court noted that the appellant had not sought to mitigate; and that in the circumstances, her sentence was not manifestly excessive. At the same time, however, the High Court expressed the view that the total sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment...

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