Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi and Another v Public Prosecutor

JudgeChao Hick Tin JA
Judgment Date16 March 2006
Neutral Citation[2006] SGCA 10
Citation[2006] SGCA 10
Subject MatterMisuse of Drugs Act,Statutory offences,Whether appellant intended recipient of drugs,Whether appellant knowing he was importing drugs into Singapore,"Abet",Sections 7, 12 Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185, 2001 Rev Ed),Whether "abet" under s 12 Misuse of Drugs Act to be given same meaning as "abet" under s 107 Penal Code,Sections 7, 18 Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185, 2001 Rev Ed),Appeal against conviction on charge of importing controlled drugs into Singapore,Criminal Law,Words and Phrases,Appeal against conviction on charge of conspiracy to import controlled drugs into Singapore under s 7 read with s 12 Misuse of Drugs Act,Section 12 Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185, 2001 Rev Ed), s 107 Penal Code (Cap 224, 1985 Rev Ed)
Published date20 March 2006
Defendant CounselHan Ming Kwang and Jason Chan (Deputy Public Prosecutor),N K Rajarh (N K Rajarh) and Thrumurgan s/o Ramapiram (Allister Lim & Thrumurgan)
Plaintiff CounselChandra Mohan s/o K Nair (Tan Rajah & Cheah) and Patrick Tan Tse Chia (Patrick Tan & Associates)
CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)

16 March 2006

Choo Han Teck J (delivering the judgment of the court):

1 Three persons appeared to be involved in a plan to import 727.02g of diamorphine into Singapore on 27 November 2004. All that was known of the first man, who was subsequently charged and convicted, and appeared before us as the first appellant, were from the findings of the trial judge. The factual findings, inferences aside, were that the first appellant was 18 years old and came from Nigeria. He left school at the age of 14 and played football for a living in Nigeria and Senegal. After Senegal, he planned to go to Dubai from Pakistan, but found himself stranded in Karachi, Pakistan. There, he befriended the third person in the conspiracy, a man known only as Smith; and it appeared that Smith helped the first appellant out of Pakistan through Kabul in Afghanistan and it was intended that he enter Dubai from Kabul. However, he was unable to enter Dubai. It also appeared that the first appellant had told the court that he was planning to come to Singapore to play football. No further personal account of the first appellant was noted, although the trial judge found that “a considerable amount of time was spent on many matters, for example, the bag from which the capsules were recovered from, and the [first appellant’s] travels after leaving Nigeria up to his arrival in Singapore” (see PP v Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi [2005] SGHC 233 at [37]). Hence, it was not known which football clubs he played for in Nigeria and Senegal, and which he hoped to play for in Singapore (however, he had testified that he had not made any arrangements with any club in Singapore but had hoped to approach the football federation for assistance). At one point after his arrest, the first appellant appeared to have said that his football manager was Smith. These would not be information that directly connected the first appellant to the offence of importing diamorphine into Singapore but would serve as corroborative evidence of the facts he supplied in his defence. It is not apparent from the judgment below where the first appellant came from and when he landed at Changi Airport although the court found that he was due to return to Dubai on 30 November.

2 The second person involved in the plan to import diamorphine into Singapore was the second appellant, a 33-year-old Nigerian who was named in the charge as “Okeke Nelson Malachy”. Part of his defence lay in rejecting the Prosecution’s case that he was known to the first appellant and also to Smith as “Marshal”. His account of himself was that he had come to Singapore to buy a used car to be shipped to South Africa for his use. No other details of this part were known or deemed relevant by the trial judge. The second appellant maintained that he did not know the first appellant and Smith. Smith, it transpired, was known only as a voice speaking through the mobile telephones of the first and second appellants. The account of the arrests of the appellants as found by the trial judge was as follows.

3 The first appellant was charged with the offence of importing a controlled drug into Singapore under s 7 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185, 2001 Rev Ed) (“the Act”). The offence was stated to be committed on 27 November 2004. No time was specified. The trial judge found that the first appellant had arrived in Singapore at 1.45pm. The first appellant made enquiries for a room in the hotel at the transit area of the airport the following day. The time he made the enquiry was not noted in the judgment below. However, the court found that the supervisor at the booking station noted that the first appellant had been in the transit area for more than 24 hours and that she (the supervisor) duly notified the police in accordance with security procedures at the airport. The first appellant was then told that the police would arrive shortly to talk to him. He was found elsewhere in the transit area about 20 minutes later when the police arrived, and was...

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