Kho Jabing v Attorney-General

CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)
JudgeChao Hick Tin JA
Judgment Date20 May 2016
Neutral Citation[2016] SGCA 37
Citation[2016] SGCA 37
Published date25 June 2016
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No 73 of 2016
Date20 May 2016
Plaintiff CounselAlfred Dodwell (Dodwell & Co LLC) (instructed), Chong Yean Yoong Jeannette-Florina (Archilex Law Corporation)
Defendant CounselFrancis Ng, Mohamed Faizal, and Zhuo Wenzhao (Attorney-General's Chambers)
Hearing Date20 May 2016
Subject MatterEquality before the law,Res judicata,Right to life and personal liberty,Fundamental liberties,Abuse of process,Protection against retrospective criminal laws,Constitutional Law
Chao Hick Tin JA (delivering the judgment of the court ex tempore):

We last saw the appellant yesterday. He had attended before us for the urgent hearing of his second application to set aside the sentence of death imposed on him. That application proceeded by way of a criminal motion to reopen a concluded criminal appeal and it had been filed on Wednesday evening. We heard his application and we dismissed it. After we delivered judgment in that matter, we learnt that yesterday morning – even before we had urgently convened to hear his second application – he had filed two separate originating summonses in the High Court seeking a series of declarations that various provisions in the Penal Code (Cap 224, 2008 Rev Ed) and the Penal Code (Amendment) Act 2012 (Act 32 of 2012) (“Amendment Act”) are unconstitutional. One originating summons was eventually withdrawn. We will come to the details shortly, but it suffices to say for now that he seeks these declarations in order that he might obtain a stay of execution of the sentence of death that is to be carried out today. Once again, an urgent hearing was convened and a Judicial Commissioner heard arguments late into the evening and at about 9.00pm last night, the Judicial Commissioner dismissed the application. An urgent appeal was filed at 10.19pm the same night. This is the appeal now before us.

This case has been about many things. But today, it is about the abuse of the process of the court. In a 19th century decision of the House of Lords called The Rev. Oswald Joseph Reichel, Clerk (Pauper) v The Rev John Richard Magrath, Provost of Queen’s College, Oxford University (1889) 14 App Cas 665 at 688, Lord Halsbury LC said that

… it would be a scandal to the administration of justice if, the same question having been disposed of by one case, the litigant were to be permitted by changing the form of the proceedings to set up the same case again.

This is precisely what has happened here. The applicant has tried twice to obtain relief by engaging the criminal jurisdiction of this court. After his applications were dismissed, he has gone away and sought relief by means of a civil action. This cannot be allowed. Yesterday, we said that no court in the world would allow an applicant to prolong matters ad infinitum through the filing of multiple applications. This principle applies here. And it applies with greater force because what the appellant seeks to do is to use the civil jurisdiction of the court to mount a collateral attack on a decision made by the court in the exercise of its criminal jurisdiction. Indeed, what the appellant has tried to do is even worse, for he has come to this court presenting arguments which are largely the same as, if not identical with, the arguments he presented in his criminal motions. What the appellant has done today, if allowed,...

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8 cases
  • Nagaenthran a/l K Dharmalingam v AG
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 29 March 2022
    ...Jin [1997] 3 SLR(R) 649; [1998] 1 SLR 374 (refd) Juma'at bin Samad v PP [1993] 2 SLR(R) 327; [1993] 3 SLR 338 (refd) Kho Jabing v AG [2016] 3 SLR 1273 (refd) Kho Jabing v PP [2016] 3 SLR 135 (refd) Ladd v Marshall [1954] 1 WLR 1489 (refd) Miya Manik v PP [2021] 2 SLR 1169 (refd) Nagaenthran......
  • Prabagaran a/l Srivijayan v PP
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 2 December 2016 CM 1, CM 3 and CM 4, who were convicted and sentenced after the commencement of the Amendment Act. In Kho Jabing v Attorney-General [2016] 3 SLR 1273 at [2], we noted that “no court in the world would allow an applicant to prolong matters ad infinitum through the filing of multiple appli......
  • Nagaenthran a/l K Dharmalingam v Attorney-General and another matter
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 29 March 2022
    ...if they are to mean anything at all, must confer certainty and stability. As we noted further in Kho Jabing v Attorney-General [2016] 3 SLR 1273 (“Kho Jabing”) (at [2]), “no court in the world would allow an applicant to prolong matters ad infinitum through the filing of multiple applicatio......
  • Syed Suhail bin Syed Zin v Attorney-General
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 23 December 2020
    ...and Immigration [1995] 2 AC 491 (“Reckley”) at 496H–497A, which was cited with approval by this court in Kho Jabing v Attorney-General [2016] 3 SLR 1273 (“Kho Jabing (JR)”) at [3], as setting out the appropriate principles on which the Court of Appeal should decide such a criminal motion. H......
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