Kee Leong Bee and Another v Public Prosecutor

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeYong Pung How CJ
Judgment Date01 July 1999
Neutral Citation[1999] SGHC 178
Citation[1999] SGHC 178
Subject MatterEffect of judge's refusal to compound matter,Whether such refusal appealable,Compounding of offences,s 199 Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68),Public interest consideration,Whether judge's refusal constitutes an order of finality,Criminal Procedure and Sentencing,Whether judge's discretion to refuse composition properly exercised
Defendant CounselAmarjit Singh (Deputy Public Prosecutor)
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselEdwin Tay and Fun Huay Yew (Edwin Tay & Co)
Docket NumberMagistrate's Appeal No 65 of 1999
Date01 July 1999
Judgment:

YONG PUNG HOW CJ

This was an appeal against the decision of a district judge where he held that composition under s 199 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68) (`CPC`) was not appropriate for the offences charged.

2. The facts

The first appellant Kee Leong Bee (`Kee`) was charged with one count of voluntarily causing hurt to her domestic maid (`the victim`), contrary to s 323 read with s 73(1)(a) and s 73(2) of the Penal Code (Cap 224), for using her hands to slap and knock the victim on her head and left hand on 27 October 1998.

3.The second appellant Toh Tian Choon (`Toh`), is Kee`s husband. He was charged with three counts of voluntarily causing hurt to the victim, contrary to s 323 read with s 73(1)(a) and s 73(2) of the Penal Code. The first count involved the squeezing of a bun into the victim`s mouth on 26 August 1998, the second count involved the squeezing of a chicken nugget into the victim`s mouth on 6 September 1998 and the third count involved the poking of his index finger against the victim`s forehead on 26 October 1998.

4.The victim lodged a complaint after the above incidents occurred. On 5 November 1998, she agreed to withdraw the complaint on terms set out in a certificate of settlement (`the settlement`) witnessed by the Consul of the Philippines Embassy Mr Ernesto N Diano. The appellants complied with the terms of the settlement on the same day. The Philippines Embassy (`the Embassy`) subsequently wrote a letter dated 12 November 1998 to the police informing them that the victim and the appellants had reached an agreement to settle the case amicably and that the victim had agreed to drop her complaint. The letter stated that the Embassy had no objection to the settlement and requested the police to allow the case to be closed.

5.On 31 December 1998, formal charges were brought against the appellants. On 12 February 1999, Sukumar & Teo, then the solicitors for the appellants, wrote to the Embassy seeking confirmation that the victim had in fact agreed to settlement. In a written reply dated 15 February 1999, the Embassy informed the solicitors that the victim would only accept the offer to settle if the appellants paid her an additional $3,500.

6.The charges were heard before the district judge on 15 March 1999. Counsel for the appellants requested the court to endorse the terms of compensation set out in the settlement of 5 November 1998 and allow the charges to be compounded under s 199 of the CPC.

7. Decision of the district judge

The district judge held that there was inherent public interest involved in the case and withheld his consent to the composition.

8. The appeal

The appellants appealed against this decision of the district judge. They submitted firstly, that the consent of the court to composition is not required under s 199 of the CPC where the composition is made before any arrest or application for summons or warrant of arrest is made. Secondly, they argued that, even if the consent of the court is required, the court should have granted its consent in this instance.

9. Preliminary objection of the respondents

The Public Prosecutor raised a preliminary objection to the appeal. In a criminal matter, an appeal can only be lodged against a judgment, sentence or order of finality, that is, resulting in conviction, sentence or acquittal. This principle is equally true of appeals from the High Court to the Court of Appeal as well as from the Subordinate Court to the High Court; see Mohamed Razip v PP [1987] SLR 142 [1988] 1 MLJ 84 , Ang Cheng Hai & Ors v PP [1995] 3 SLR 201 and Knight Glenn Jeyasingam v PP (Unreported) . It was submitted by the Public Prosecutor that since the order of the district judge to withhold consent from the composition did not result in an acquittal or conviction, there was no order of finality against which an appeal could be lodged.

10.In Provincial Govt, Central Provinces and Berar v Bipin Singh Choudhury [1945] AIR 104 it was held that an order giving consent to composition of an offence can be appealed against since the discharge on composition has the effect of an...

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24 cases
  • Wong Sin Yee v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 23 May 2001
    ...Mohamed Salleh v PP [1990] 1 SLR (R) 198; [1990] SLR 301 (folld) Dharichhan Singh v Emperor AIR 1939 Pat 141 (refd) Kee Leong Bee v PP [1999] 2 SLR (R) 768; [1999] 3 SLR 190 (folld) Neo Ner v PP Magistrate's Appeal No 113 of 2001 (distd) Ng Ai Tiong v PP [2000] 1 SLR (R) 490; [2000] 2 SLR 3......
  • Chua Tian Bok Timothy v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 16 September 2004
    ...reason and justice but also in accordance with the provisions of the law. 8 Further, in two of my recent decisions in Kee Leong Bee v PP [1999] 3 SLR 190 at [21] and Ho Yean Theng Jill v PP [2004] 1 SLR 254 at [40], I have said Where an order involves a discretion of the court, the appellat......
  • Public Prosecutor v Donohue Enilia
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 5 November 2004
    ...only in accordance with the rules of reason and justice but also in accordance with the provisions of the law. 40 In Kee Leong Bee v PP [1999] 3 SLR 190 at [21], which was cited in Ho Yean Theng Jill v PP at [40] and Chua Tian Bok Timothy v PP [2004] SGHC 208 at [8], I also held, in relatio......
  • Teo Seng Tiong v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 1 July 2021
    ...GCO v PP [2019] 3 SLR 1402 (refd) Iskandar bin Muhamad Nordin v PP [2006] 1 SLR(R) 265; [2006] 1 SLR 265 (refd) Kee Leong Bee v PP [1999] 2 SLR(R) 768; [1999] 3 SLR 190 (refd) Lim Chor Pee, Re [1990] 2 SLR(R) 117; [1990] SLR 809 (refd) Neo Chuan Sheng v PP [2020] 5 SLR 410 (refd) PP v Aw Ta......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Criminal Procedure, Evidence and Sentencing
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2001, December 2001
    • 1 December 2001
    ...or application for a summons or warrant of arrest is made. 11.19 Subsequently, when confronted with this issue in Kee Leong Bee v PP[1999] 3 SLR 190, the High Court held that an offence can only be compounded with the consent of court even if a settlement has been reached earlier between th......
  • Criminal Procedure, Evidence and Sentencing
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2005, December 2005
    • 1 December 2005
    ...abuse of trust over a protracted period (PP v Mohamed Nasir bin Mohamed Sali[1999] 4 SLR 83) and maid abuse cases (Kee Leong Bee v PP[1999] 3 SLR 190; Ho Yean Theng Jill v PP[2004] 1 SLR 254), consent to composition should be withheld. Similarly, road rage incidents usually involved custodi......

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