Lim Hean Nerng v Lim Ee Choo

JurisdictionSingapore
JudgeYong Pung How CJ
Judgment Date12 May 1998
Neutral Citation[1998] SGHC 158
Citation[1998] SGHC 158
Defendant CounselTan Beng Swee (Netto Tan & S Magin)
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselNg Cher Yeow (Ng Cher Yeow & Partners)
Date12 May 1998
Docket NumberCriminal Revision No 6 of 1998
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Subject MatterWhether findings of fact clearly against weight of evidence,Criminal Procedure and Sentencing,Whether harm so slight as not to constitute an offence,Sentencing,Whether serious injustice in the circumstances,Standard of proof,Whether sufficient to cast reasonable doubt,Existence of other possibilities for injury,Delay in making petition,Voluntarily causing hurt,s 95 Penal Code (Cap 224),Revision of proceedings,Petition essentially seeks reversal of findings of fact,Proof of evidence,Evidence
Judgment:

YONG PUNG HOW CJ

The petitioner was charged as follows:

You, Lim Hean Nerng, male (NRIC No S0022235/F) are charged that you, on 17 February 1997 at about 9.30am at No 44 Sungei Kadut Street 1, Singapore, did voluntarily cause hurt to one Lim Ee Choo, m/70 yrs, to wit, by punching him on the right side of the face, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under s 323 of the Penal Code (Cap 224).

2.In the court below, the petitioner was convicted and fined $500, two week`s imprisonment in default of payment. The petitioner paid the fine. Subsequently the petitioner made a petition of criminal revision asking the court to exercise its power of revision under s 268 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68) to reverse the conviction. At the end of the hearing I dismissed the petition for the following reasons.

3. The respondent`s version of events

The respondent Mr Lim Ee Choo (the respondent), is the managing partner of Chye Lian Huat Sawmill Co (the company). On 17 February 1997 at about am, he was at the premises of the company at No 44 Sungei Kadut Street 1 (the premises). At the premises he saw that the workers were doing work for the petitioner. A dispute arose as to the use of the workers. According to the respondent, the petitioner raised his hand and punched him on the right side of the face. There was no witness to the punch. The respondent then went into his office and asked his clerk, Mr Chew Guan San to call for the police. The police arrived at about 9.40am. They found no visible sign of injury on the respondent. They advised the respondent that if he wanted to pursue the matter further, he had to seek medical treatment and subsequently register the case at the subordinate courts.

4.At about 2pm of the same day, the respondent went to the A & E Department of Toa Payoh Hospital. Dr Yeo Suan Aik (Dr Yeo) examined him. Dr Yeo found that there was no bruise over the right maxilla. There was however tenderness on touch over the right maxilla. In other words, the respondent felt pain on his right cheek upon touch. In his evidence, Dr Yeo verified that there was no clinical way to measure tenderness and that it depended on the patient`s response. He could not say for certain what caused the injury. He opined that it was possible for the injury to be caused by a punch, to be self-inflicted or faked. He stated that in cases where pretence was suspected, he would routinely lightly touch the skin and look for a hypersensitive response which was inconsistent to the injury where no physical bruise was seen. He stated that he did not observe any signs of pretence in the respondent`s case.

5.The respondent subsequently made a police report on 19 February 1997. On 18 June 1997, he made a complaint against the petitioner under s 133(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, alleging that the petitioner punched him on the right side of his face.

6. The petitioner`s version of events

According to the petitioner, he had been appointed by five of the seven partners of the company to help in the management and repair work. On 17 February 1997 the petitioner went to the premises of the company and directed the workers to clear the rubbish and repair the fence. When the respondent arrived, he asked the petitioner not to interfere with the vacant land and the factory premises. He only wanted the petitioner to collect arrears of rental from the tenants. An argument ensued and the respondent ordered the petitioner to leave the premises immediately, failing which he would call the police.

7.The argument carried on and the police arrived. The police asked the petitioner if he had authorisation to work on the premises. The petitioner showed the police a contract signed by five partners of the company. After speaking with the respondent, the police asked the petitioner to ask the workers to stop work immediately. The petitioner explained to the police that the workers were casual workers and that it would be easier to account for their salary if they worked for at least half a day. The police then spoke to the respondent. The respondent went back into the office and the petitioner carried on with his work. The petitioner`s defence to the charge was that he did not punch the respondent nor come into contact with his body in any way.

8. The trial judge`s decision

The trial judge found the petitioner guilty as to the charge. Since the petitioner had proceeded by way of petition of criminal revision instead of filing a notice of appeal within ten days of the judgment, there was no statutory requirement on the trial judge to produce grounds of decision. In evaluating the petition, the notes of evidence were relied on.

9. The delay in presenting the petition

The principle relating to the exercise of the court`s power of revision was laid out in Ang Poh Chuan v PP [1996] 1 SLR 326 . The principle is that there must be some serious injustice in the circumstances before the court`s revisionary power is exercised. The point was also made there that while in a case of injustice generally, delay would not be material, it may indicate in some circumstances that there is in fact no injustice caused. On the facts of that case, the court was of the view that the delay of about eight months indicated that even if there was injustice, the force of that was...

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3 cases
  • Public Prosecutor v Liang An Wey
    • Singapore
    • District Court (Singapore)
    • October 6, 2023
    ...v Public Prosecutor [2010] SGHC 123 (victim is a bus captain); Ang Lilian (victim is a domestic helper); Lim Hean Nerng v Lim Ee Choo [1998] 2 SLR(R) 320 (victim is elderly). For further discussion, see generally, Sentencing Principles at [16.092] – Where the offence endangers the public in......
  • Lee Cheong Ngan alias Lee Cheong Yuen v Public Prosecutor and Other Applications
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • May 5, 2004
    ...in some circumstances that there was in fact no injustice caused: Ang Poh Chuan, ([22] supra), followed in Lim Hean Nerng v Lim Ee Choo [1998] 2 SLR 585. In this case, Lee and Chiong could not offer any credible explanation for the lateness of their applications. Although it was unfortunate......
  • Public Prosecutor v Lim Kian Heng
    • Singapore
    • Magistrates' Court (Singapore)
    • December 30, 2003
    ...be seen did not necessarily mean or lead to an inference that the victim had faked or self–inflicted it. In Lim Hean Nerng v Lim Ee Choo [1998] 2 SLR 585, the respondent alleged that he was slapped once on the face by the appellant after a dispute involving workers. The police who arrived a......
1 books & journal articles
  • CORPORAL PUNISHMENT OF CHILDREN BY PARENTS Is It Discipline or Violence and Abuse?
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2018, December 2018
    • December 1, 2018
    ...v Lim Eng Hock[1996] 2 SLR(R) 957, Balbir Singh s/o Amar Singh v Public Prosecutor[2010] 3 SLR 784 and Lim Hean Nerng v Lim Ee Choo[1998] 2 SLR(R) 320. The defence of consent in the Penal Code (Cap 224, 2008 Rev Ed) will not apply since a parent can only consent on behalf of a child if he i......

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