Lim Young Sien v Public Prosecutor

CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)
JudgeKarthigesu JA
Judgment Date30 March 1994
Neutral Citation[1994] SGCA 52
Citation[1994] SGCA 52
Subject MatterWhether statement 'inconsistent or contradictory',Adverse inference for failure to call witness,Criminal Procedure and Sentencing,s 116(g) Evidence Act (Cap 97, 1990 Ed),Confessions,Statements,Invocation of s 147 of Evidence Act,Proof of evidence,Practice of applying for leave to cross-examine,Cross-examination on inconsistency,Whether mandatory or procedural,Attendance,s 147 Evidence Act (Cap 97, 1990 Ed),Evidence,Admissibility,Whether statement given by the appellant amounted to confession,Previous inconsistent statement,Standard of proof,Applicability of rule where prosecution proves all elements of charge beyond reasonable doubt,Whether judge allowed to reject previous statement of witness,Distinction between admissibility of evidence and weight given to admitted evidence,Procedure,s 17(2) Evidence Act (Cap 97, 1990 Ed),Witnesses
Date30 March 1994
Plaintiff CounselLoo Ngan Chor (Loo Ngan Chor & Co) and Yap Gim Chuan (Yap Gim Chuan & Co) (both assigned)
Defendant CounselKamala Ponnampalam (Deputy Public Prosecutor)
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberCriminal Appeal No 2 of 1994

This was an appeal against a conviction of drug trafficking and a sentence of death under ss 5(a) and 33 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185).

The facts

On 1 June 1992, officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau (`CNB`), acting on information received at about 2pm, mounted a surveillance operation on Blk 102, Bukit Purmei Road, #07-68, Singapore (`the flat`). They scouted the vicinity for an observation post and found one at a construction site nearby. They left the vicinity at 2.40pm and returned to the CNB headquarters for further information to be received.

Acting on further information received, they returned to the vicinity at about 8.35pm on the same day and kept watch on the flat. At about 10.20pm, Narcotics Officer Quek Hock Hoe (`NO Quek`), who was stationed at the observation post keeping watch on the flat using binoculars, spotted a slim male Chinese wearing a white long-sleeved shirt entering the flat. NO Quek was unable to say, however, whether the male Chinese was carrying anything as his view was blocked by the parapet wall of the flat. Chief Narcotics Officer Lim Chei Yoo (`CNO Lim`) was immediately informed. At about 10.27pm, NO Quek spotted the same male Chinese leaving the flat and walking down the stairs leading to the lift. NO Chan, who was with NO Quek at the observation post, ran to inform CNO Lim, who was at a bus stop near Blk 102 (`the block`) along Kampung Bahru Road. CNO Lim then joined Narcotics Officer Yeoh Seng Hock (`NO Yeoh`) at the void deck of the block and both of them positioned themselves near the lifts.

Shortly after, one of the lifts opened. A slim male Chinese wearing a light-coloured long-sleeved shirt came out of the lift. He was carrying a blue canvas sling bag (`P55`). Upon seeing CNO Lim and NO Yeoh, he attempted to run. There was a violent struggle before he was, with the help of Senior Narcotics Officer Tan Boon Hock (`SNO Tan`) and another officer, put under arrest. He was later ascertained to be Lim Young Sien, the appellant. He was asked and replied that the bag belonged to him and that it contained money. In fact, it contained $40,000. CNO Lim then asked the appellant for the key to the flat. The appellant replied, `I don`t have. It`s in the house. There is another person in the house.`

While all this was taking place, NO Yeoh and other officers arrested a male Chinese who was sitting in a grey Honda Civic carrying a registration plate SBB1665R. His name was later ascertained to be Kek Bok Chye (`Kek`). The officers then brought him to the void deck near where the lifts were. With the exception of NO Yeoh and NO Jaafar bin Sohot, all the officers, Kek and the appellant went into the same lift and proceeded to the ninth floor. At the ninth floor lift landing, CNO Lim instructed the rest to remain there and guard the two arrested, while NO Riduan bin Mohd Noor, NO Iqbal bin Mohamed and himself would go to raid the flat. At the eighth floor landing, however, they saw a male Chinese walking up the stairs who appeared very nervous upon seeing the officers. He was also arrested and later ascertained to be one Koh Kim Seng (`Koh`). After bringing Koh up to the ninth floor lift landing, the three officers proceeded to the flat. The main door to the flat was locked while the hall windows were left open. After an unsuccessful attempt to kick open the door, NO Riduan used a broomstick to force open the latch. No one was then in the flat. Lying on the floor in the master bedroom were one red and black canvas sling bag (`P44`), one black clutch bag and some other items.

CNO Lim then asked NO Iqbal to have the three arrested persons brought to the flat. CNO Lim and SNO Tan questioned the appellant in Hokkien as to the contents of P44 and its weight. The appellant replied ` pei hoon ` (a colloquial term for heroin in Hokkien) and said that they weighed 14 pounds. The appellant told CNO Lim that the black clutch bag contained $4,000-$5,000. He also told CNO Lim that the keys to the flat were placed at the window grille. When asked how much money there was in the blue canvas sling back, ie P55, he replied `$40,000 and I got the leow from him`, pointing to Kek, who replied `say properly`, to which the appellant said `no choice, got it`. ` Leow ` means, literally, `ingredients` in Hokkien. In the context used, it meant the drugs that had fetched him the money contained in P55. The appellant also told CNO Lim that the flat was rented on his behalf by a friend from an Indian family. The owner, who was traced through a neighbour, arrived at 11.27pm and said that the flat had been rented by Koh. In one of the drawers, a spoon, four candles, a stack of plastic packets and an electronic weighing scale suitable for weighing small quantities of substance were found.

The 14 packets found inside P44 were sent to the department of scientific services (`DSS`) for analysis. They weighed 6,373g and, according to Dr Saw Chwee Guan from the DSS, contained diamorphine of not less than 804g. Kek, Koh and the appellant were then charged with having jointly trafficked in a controlled drug found in their possession at the flat. A statement under s 122(6) of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68) (`CPC`) was recorded. In it, the appellant merely said, `I have nothing to say`. It was only admitted in evidence at the request of the defence.

In the course of investigation and before the appellant was charged, but after the s 122(6) statement had been recorded, several statements (`the long statement`) were taken under s 121(1) of the CPC from the appellant by NO Soh Koh Tong over a period between 5 June 1992 and 2 July 1992. As voluntariness was challenged, a trial within a trial was held. At the voir dire, the appellant contended that at about 2.30pm on 8 June 1992, just before the investigating officer was about to continue recording his statement, a senior officer of the CNB, one Teo Ho Peng, came to the room and said to the appellant, `... the statement should not be like that ... . If you maintain this, I want the three of you to die. I have so far hung 20-odd...

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  • Khoo Kwoon Hain v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 3 July 1995
    ...appellant Chay Yuen Fatt (Deputy Public Prosecutor) for the respondent. Balwant Singh v PP [1960] MLJ 264 (folld) Lim Young Sien v PP [1994] 1 SLR (R) 920; [1994] 2 SLR 257 (distd) PP v Mardai [1950] MLJ 33 (refd) PP v Teo Eng Chan [1987] SLR (R) 567; [1987] SLR 475 (distd) PP v Yeo Choon P......
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    ...MLJ 57 and has been approved in numerous cases in Singapore (see Somwang Phatthanasaeng v PP [1992] 1 SLR 850 , Lim Young Sien v PP [1994] 2 SLR 257 ). The procedure follows a three-step approach. First: On the request of either side, the court reads the former statement. If there is no ser......
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    • High Court (Singapore)
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    ...Goh Liong Lam v Reg [1958] MLJ 254 (refd) Khoo Kwoon Hain v PP [1995] 2 SLR (R) 591; [1995] 2 SLR 767 (refd) Lim Young Sien v PP [1994] 1 SLR (R) 920; [1994] 2 SLR 257 (folld) Makin v Attorney-General for New South Wales [1894] AC 57 (refd) Neo Ah Soi v PP [1996] 1 SLR (R) 199; [1996] 1 SLR......
  • Roy S Selvarajah v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 11 August 1998
    ...2 SLR (R) 398; [1994] 2 SLR 838 (distd) Lim Woon Cheng Anthony v PP [1997] 3 SLR (R) 123; [1998] 1 SLR 14 (distd) Lim Young Sien v PP [1994] 1 SLR (R) 920; [1994] 2 SLR 257 (folld) Ong Ah Yeo Yenna v PP [1993] 1 SLR (R) 349; [1993] 2 SLR 73 (distd) Pipe v R (1966) 51 Cr App R 17 (refd) PP v......
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2 books & journal articles
  • Criminal Procedure, Evidence and Sentencing
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2000, December 2000
    • 1 December 2000
    ...ulterior motive and the witness, who is available to, but not called by, the prosecution, is offered to the defence: Lim Young Sien v PP[1994] 2 SLR 257. Where a witness was made available by the prosecution but the absence of the witness was brought about by the inaction on the part of the......
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal Nbr. 1996, December 1996
    • 1 December 1996
    ...for amounts above a certain stipulated minimum. 24 Supra, note 20, ss 24 and 25. 25 [1994] 1 SLR 119, 129. See also Lim Young Sien[1994] 2 SLR 257, 264. 26 S 17(1), Evidence Act, supra, note 9. 27 Supra, note 15. 28 Both of which would be illegal, but hardly to the same degree. 29 See a dis......

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