Osman bin Ali v Public Prosecutor

CourtCourt of Appeal (Singapore)
JudgeChua F A J
Judgment Date11 September 1972
Neutral Citation[1972] SGCA 8
Citation[1972] SGCA 8
Defendant CounselChia Quee Khee (Deputy Public Prosecutor)
Plaintiff CounselDato' David Marshall (David Marshall)
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberCriminal Appeal No 15
Date11 September 1972
Subject MatterEvidence,Whether Prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that appellant caused deaths in circumstances amounting to murder under Section 300 Penal Code (Cap 103, 1970 Rev Ed),Offences,Admissibility of evidence,Practice of court,Diminished responsibility,Special exceptions,Murder,Whether trial court correct in rejecting the defence of diminished responsibility,Whether Prosecution entitled to call evidence after close of Defence case,Criminal Law,Rebuttal evidence,Section 300 exception 7 Penal Code (Cap 103, 1970 Rev Ed)

The appellant, Osman bin Ali, was found guilty by the High Court on two charges of murder and convicted. He now appeals against his conviction. The facts are these.

The appellant was on 1 November 1970 employed by a Mr CP Thomas as a gardener since 1962.
At the material date Mr Thomas had also under his employ an amah, Wu Tee (f), a cook Tan Tai Hin and a housekeeper Miss Lim Mei Choo. The amah, the cook and the housekeeper all lived in but the appellant did not. The amah, Wu Tee, had a daughter Miss Low Ek Meng, a secondary school student, who stayed with her mother at Mr Thomas` house. Wu Tee`s day off was on Saturday and she and her daughter spend it in their own house.

1 November 1970 was a Sunday and at about 8am Mr Thomas, his daughter and the housekeeper left the house for a picnic in Johore.
The amah returned to Mr Thomas` house on that morning and her daughter Miss Low went there shortly thereafter arriving at about 8.15am. On arrival she saw her mother washing clothes in the bathroom which is beside the cook`s room. She also saw the cook near the bathroom and then she went into her mother`s room. Later, after she had breakfast, she saw the cook leave the house to go marketing. She also left the house and bought a newspaper and then returned to Mr Thomas` house. She saw her mother hanging up clothes and while reading the newspaper she had bought she saw the gardener, the appellant, coming from the garage and pass her door and then heard him talking to her mother in the kitchen. Then her mother told her to close the door which she did. About an hour later the cook returned and she heard him talking to the gardener. Shortly thereafter he heard the cook washing clothes in the bathroom. Then she heard the cook utter the Malay words `apa macham` in a frightened voice and heard coughing and sounds like bubbles in water. She became frightened and peeped through the key hole in the door of her room. She saw nobody, opened the door and walked a few steps towards the bathroom. She heard sounds as if someone was searching in the cook`s room. She also saw a pair of legs, the cook`s, with back of the heels on the floor of the bathroom. She became frightened, ran into her mother`s room, peeped out of the window and through the key hole and then ran out of the house to a neighbour, the cook of the next door house. There she telephoned the police. After telephoning and while she was still at the neighbour`s house she saw the gardener walking near the garage of Mr Thomas` house.

A police party of three arrived at the neighbour`s house at about 11.11am and after meeting the amah`s daughter the sergeant in charge went to Mr Thomas` house.
In the cook`s room the police sergeant saw a man, the cook, hanging from the struts of a closed window with the feet a few inches above the floor. The police sergeant then went to his police car and after the driver of the car had sent for an ambulance the two of them returned to Mr Thomas` house. On searching the house the police sergeant saw a woman, the amah, lying in a bathtub filled with water, of the bathroom. When the ambulance arrived the ambulance attendant found both the cook and the amah dead. A police inspector, Inspector Ling, also arrived and took charge of the investigations. He found the dead cook was wearing a glove over his left hand and a piece of rope tied round his neck. While he was at the scene the gardener was given to his custody by a police corporal who had earlier at about 12.15pm taken custody of the gardener at the Bukit Timah Police Station. He found the gardener smelling of alcohol and in a state of collapse and so sent the gardener to the Outram Road Hospital.

On that morning the gardener had asked a Malay girl of secondary school age the way to the sixth milestone Bukit Timah Road.
The girl said he did not smell of alcohol. Later on the gardener bought a quarter bottle of `Orang Tua` liquor from a shop and consumed all of it mixed with water. The same morning he also visited his wife`s cousin at a house at sixth milestone Bukit Timah Road and told this relative that he had killed two persons at his place of work because of a misunderstanding which occurred some time ago. He also told this relative he wanted to hide out but was advised it was better for him to surrender himself at the police station at the seventh milestone Bukit Timah Road. The gardener left after giving his relative $30 to give to his mother.

Then at about 11.58am the gardener showed up at the Bukit Timah Police Station and said he wanted to make a report.
The report which was made in Malay, when translated reads:

On 1 November 1970 at 10.30am I hit the maid servant and the cook at 15 Leedon Park because of an argument about work. These persons were lying down when I went to the station to surrender myself.

The police officer after taking down the gardener`s report telephoned to the Orchard Road Police Station.
While he was speaking on the telephone the gardener collapsed and fainted and was lifted from the floor and put on a long bench and revived with water.

The gardener was examined at about 1.45pm that afternoon

To continue reading

Request your trial
3 cases
  • Bridges Christopher v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 3 April 1997
    ......I made no such distinction in Jusri bin Mohamed Hussain v PP [1996] 3 SLR 29 , when I applied the principle stated by Chao Hick Tin J in Rafiq Jumabhoy v Alrich Development Pte Ltd [1994] 3 SLR 1 . Osman bin Ali v PP [1972] 2 MLJ 178 ; [1972-1974] SLR 106 , which was relied on by the district judge, was a case dealing with the defence of diminished responsibility. In such a case, the burden of establishing the defence was on the defendant. It is of no assistance. For this reason, ......
  • Azman Bin Jamaludin v PP
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 18 November 2011
    ...PP [1996] 2 SLR (R) 692; [1996] 3 SLR 276 (refd) Ng Chye Huay v PP [2006] 1 SLR (R) 157; [2006] 1 SLR 157 (refd) Osman bin Ali v PP [1971-1973] SLR (R) 503; [1972-1974] SLR 106 (refd) PP v Abdul Hamid [1969] 1 MLJ 53 (refd) PP v Abdul Rahim bin Abdul Satar [1990] 3 MLJ 188 (refd) PP v Bridg......
  • Bridges Christopher v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 6 November 1997
    ...SLR (R) 344; [1991] SLR 235, CA (folld) Chan Hiang Leng Colin v PP [1995] 1 SLR (R) 388; [1995] 1 SLR 687 (folld) Osman bin Ali v PP [1971-1973] SLR (R) 503; [1972-1974] SLR 106 (refd) PP v Bridges Christopher [1997] 1 SLR (R) 681; [1997] 2 SLR 217 (folld) PP v Phua Keng Tong [1985-1986] SL......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT