Ma Teresa Bebango Bedico v Public Prosecutor

CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeYong Pung How CJ
Subject MatterControl of admission,Governing principles,Admissibility of evidence,Immigration Act (Cap 133, 1997 Ed),'Permission in writing',s 23 Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322, 1999 Ed),Immigration,s 36 Immigration Act (Cap 133, 1997 Ed),Criminal Procedure and Sentencing,ss 266(1) & 268(1) Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68),Petitioner failing to adduce fresh supporting evidence,Whether statement of facts admitted to makes out every element of offence,Revision of proceedings,Words and Phrases,Petitioner returning to Singapore using new passport and without Controller's prior written permission,Statement of facts,Whether allegations admissible,Requirement to obtain Controller's permission in writing before re-entry,Evidence,Whether all elements of offence in statement of facts,Petitioner failing to raise certain issues at trial
Defendant CounselAmarjit Singh (Deputy Public Prosecutor)
Docket NumberCriminal Revision No 9 of 2001
Plaintiff CounselPang Xiang Zhong (Peter Pang & Co)
Date18 January 2002
Published date19 September 2003

[2002] SGHC 11

High Court

Yong Pung How CJ

Criminal Revision No 9 of 2001

Bedico Ma Teresa Bebango
Public Prosecutor

Pang Xiang Zhong (Peter Pang & Co) for the petitioner

Amarjit Singh (Deputy Public Prosecutor) for the respondent.

Ang Poh Chuan v PP [1995] 3 SLR (R) 929; [1996] 1 SLR 326 (folld)

Knight Glenn Jeyasingam v PP [1998] 3 SLR (R) 196; [1999] 3 SLR 362 (folld)

Mok Swee Kok v PP [1994] 3 SLR (R) 134; [1994] 3 SLR 140 (folld)

Packir Malim v PP [1997] 2 SLR (R) 472; [1997] 3 SLR 429 (refd)

Teo Hee Heng v PP [2000] 2 SLR (R) 351; [2000] 3 SLR 168 (refd)

Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68, 1985 Rev Ed) s 266 (1) (consd);ss 268 (1), 268 (3)

Immigration Act (Cap 133, 1997 Rev Ed) s 36 (consd);ss 8, 9 (1) (a) (i), 9 (5), 14

Immigration Regulations (Cap 133, Rg 1, 1998 Rev Ed) regs 12, 17

Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322, 1999 Rev Ed) s 23 (consd)

Criminal Procedure and Sentencing–Revision of proceedings–Applicable principles–Accused's statement of facts allegedly not disclosing every element of offence after admitting to same without qualification–Requirements to be fulfilled before revisionary power can be exercised–Applicant raising fresh allegations–No fresh evidence adduced in support–Fresh allegations not admissible–Section 266 (1) Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68, 1985 Rev Ed)–Section 23 Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322, 1999 Rev Ed)–Immigration–Control of admission–Person under order of removal returning to stay in Singapore without permission in writing of Controller–Permission required before re-entry allowed–Section 36 Immigration Act (Cap 133, 1997 Rev Ed)–Words and Phrases–“Permission in writing”–Section 36 Immigration Act (Cap 133, 1997 Rev Ed)

The petitioner's (“Bedico's”) passport was endorsed with an entry ban and she was told that she had to obtain the written permission of the Controller of Immigration (“the Controller”) should she wish to re-enter Singapore. Bedico later obtained a new passport that contained no indication of the entry ban, and used it, without informing the immigration officer of the entry ban, to enter Singapore.

Bedico pleaded guilty to an offence under s 36 of the Immigration Act (Cap 133, 1997 Rev Ed) and was convicted and sentenced. She sought a criminal revision, arguing that the statement of facts (“SOF”) did not disclose every element of the offence.

Held, dismissing the petition:

(1) Section 23 of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322, 1999 Rev Ed) vested the High Court with powers of revision. However, this power was to be exercised sparingly, and was not to be used as a convenient form of “backdoor appeal” against conviction for accused persons who pleaded guilty to their charges. Further, for the court to exercise the power, there had to be some error, illegality, impropriety or irregularity in the lower court's decision which occasioned grave and serious injustice to the accused: at [7] and [8].

(2) There was no justification for the court to exercise its revisionary powers. Bedico's claim that the SOF did not allege fraud or a duty to disclose the entry ban was without merit since neither was an element of the offence. Further, the SOF disclosed all the elements of the offence, and Bedico had admitted to the SOF without qualification: at [12] and [17].

(3)“Permission in writing” in s 36 meant “prior written permission”. Interpreting it otherwise would defeat its purpose if a person who had been removed from Singapore could enter the country and then await the Controller's decision. Bedico's claim that the authorities were estopped by their own mistake from denying the validity of her visit pass failed: at [13].

(4) As Bedico failed to allege at trial that she had not been served with the order for removal nor told of its effect, and did not adduce fresh evidence to support them, her allegations were not accepted: at [16].

Yong Pung How CJ

1 This was a petition for a criminal revision arising from a hearing before District Judge Victor Yeo Khee Eng (“the judge”). The petitioner pleaded guilty to a charge under s 36 of the Immigration Act (Cap 133, 1997 Ed). She...

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