K Abdul Rasheed and Another v Public Prosecutor

JudgeLai Kew Chai J
Judgment Date04 January 1985
Neutral Citation[1985] SGHC 1
Citation[1985] SGHC 1
Defendant CounselDavid Khor (Deputy Public Prosecutor)
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselMohideen MP Haja Rubin (Amarjit Rubin & Partners)
Date04 January 1985
Docket NumberMagistrate's Appeals Nos 41 and
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Subject Matter'He (the Public Prosecutor) will not further prosecute the defendant upon the charge',Words and Phrases,Discharge not amounting to acquittal,s 183 Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 113),Trials,Criminal Procedure and Sentencing,Court's discretionary power to direct an acquittal

At the conclusion of the hearing of two magistrate`s appeals last Friday, which were heard together as they were both concerned with the ambit of s 183 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 113), I allowed both appeals, varied the orders of two learned district judges and directed that the discharges in both the appeals amounted to acquittals. In addition to discharging my duty to do so, I am setting out my grounds in deference to since I found myself at variance with the written grounds of decisions of both the learned district judges who have had much experience in the administration of criminal justice in the subordinate courts.

The two appeals arose in this way.
In MA 78/84, Arnold Ah Chak, a detective sergeant of the Singapore Police Force, faced two charges that he on two different days in June 1983 did corruptly obtain for himself from two prostitutes gratification in the form of sexual intercourse as inducements to return them their passports and not putting them on the blacklist for immigration purposes. He was alleged to have committed offences under s 6(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Cap 104). When the case was called on for hearing on 26 March 1984, the learned Deputy Public Prosecutor applied for the accused to be discharged not amounting to an acquittal in respect of the two charges as the prosecution could not go on due to the fact that the two prostitutes, as principal witnesses for the prosecution, were not available.

Learned counsel for the accused applied to the learned district judge to direct a discharge amounting to an acquittal under s 183(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code but the latter declined to do so.
Instead, he ordered that the accused be discharged not amounting to an acquittal on the two charges. His sole and only ground may be summarised in this way. The prosecution in the case was unable to proceed because of the unavailability of the two witnesses. Since it was not withdrawing the charges, the prosecution had not informed the court that `(it) will not further prosecute the (accused) upon the charge(s)` within the meaning of that phrase (as substituted) in s 183(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code. He accordingly held that `there was nothing (in the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code) which could empower me to discharge the accused amounting to an acquittal`. With the greatest of respect to the learned district judge, I am of the view that he has misconstrued the meaning of the phrase in s 183(1) of the Code which I have quoted. I must now recite s 183 of the Code which is in the following terms:

(1) At any stage of any summary trial before judgment has been delivered, the Public Prosecutor may, if he thinks fit, inform the court that he will not further prosecute the defendant upon the charge and thereupon all proceedings on the charge against the defendant shall be stayed and he shall be discharged from and of the same.

(2) Such discharge shall not amount to an acquittal unless the court to directs except in cases coming under s 176.

What then must the Public Prosecutor inform the court before the consequences of a stay of the proceedings and a discharge of a defendant can arise and take place?
In other words, what is the meaning of the phrase `he (the Public Prosecutor) will not further prosecute the defendant upon the charge?` To my mind, there are two possible meanings. The first is the Public Prosecutor informing the court that for some reason, such as the unavailability of a prosecution witness, he will not at the stage when the case has come on for hearing go on with the prosecution of the defendant upon the charge. In other words, he informs the court that he has decided that he will not take the prosecution beyond what has gone on up to that stage....

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9 cases
  • TS Video and Laser Pte Ltd v Lim Chee Yong and another appeal
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 19 November 2001
    ...... . The respondent obtained an authorisation from the Public Prosecutor, pursuant to s 336(4) and (7) of the Criminal Procedure Code ... . . This was interpreted by Lai Kew Chai J in K Abdul Rasheed v PP [1984-1985] SLR 561 [1985] 1 MLJ 193 at 195 as meaning ......
  • Goh Cheng Chuan v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 27 July 1990
    ...... with abetting the appellant in the commission of the offence in DAC 6932/85 as well as with another offence under s 170 of the Penal Code (Cap 224) in MAC 17949/85. All these charges were mentioned ... accused should amount to an acquittal, and he relied on the decision of Lai Kew Chai J in K Abdul Rasheed v PP [1985] 1 MLJ 193 . The learned district judge rejected the submission of counsel ......
  • Loh Siang Piow and Another v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 2 February 1998
    ...s 184(2), I would agree with the considerations which were adopted in K Abdul Rasheed v PP ; Ah Chak Arnold v PP [1985] 1 MLJ 193 [1984-1985] SLR 561 where Lai Kew Chai J stated at pp 195E (MLJ) and 564 (SLR): a court must bear in mind and give due regard to the right of the prosecution to ......
  • Arjan Singh v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 1 April 1993
    ...... was already engaged in the High Court trial and this matter was mentioned on his behalf by another counsel, who duly applied for the trial dates to be vacated. On this occasion, however, the ... defendant.I would gratefully adopt the reasoning of my brethren, Lai Kew Chai J in K Abdul Rasheed v PP 1 and LP Thean J in Goh Cheng Chuan v PP :2 the words `unless the court so ......
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