PP; Sunny Ang

JurisdictionSingapore
Judgment Date19 November 1965
Date19 November 1965
Docket NumberCriminal Appeal No 26 of 1965
CourtFederal Court (Singapore)
Ang Sunny
Plaintiff
and
Public Prosecutor
Defendant

[1965] SGFC 8

Tan Ah Tah ACJ

,

F A Chua J

and

A V Winslow J

Criminal Appeal No 26 of 1965

Federal Court

Criminal Law–Offences–Murder–Whether charge proved on circumstantial evidence–Criminal Procedure and Sentencing–Trials–Prosecution giving short notice before adducing evidence of witnesses not called during preliminary enquiry–Whether s 192 (3) Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 132, 1955 Rev Ed) complied with–Section 192 (3) Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 132, 1955 Rev Ed)–Evidence–Proof of evidence–Standard of proof–Prosecution's case based wholly on circumstantial evidence–Whether trial judge erred in law in failing to direct jury on danger of convicting accused person upon circumstantial evidence–Proper test to be applied

The appellant (“Ang”) was charged with the murder of one Jenny Cheok Cheng Kid (“Jenny”). Ang had hired a sampan to take both him and Jenny to a place between two islands, where they would ostensibly collect corals. The Prosecution's case was that Ang intended to murder Jenny and that in pursuance of this intention allowed Jenny, a novice diver, to venture into hazardous waters alone, wearing a flipper that had previously been cut. The evidence adduced by the Prosecution was wholly circumstantial. Ang was convicted of the charge and sentenced to death.

On appeal, counsel for Ang raised, inter alia, the following grounds of appeal: (a) the Prosecution abused s 192 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 132, 1955 Rev Ed) (“CPC”) by adducing evidence of witnesses who had not been called at the preliminary enquiry after giving only a few minutes' notice; (b) the trial judge had cast unnecessary and unwarranted aspersions on the conduct of Ang's counsel, with the result that Ang's case was prejudiced; (c) Ang was subject to such prejudice throughout the trial that he could not be said to have had a fair trial; (d) the trial judge erred in law in failing to direct the jury on the danger of convicting an accused person upon circumstantial evidence.

Held, dismissing the appeal:

(1) No time limit is prescribed by s 192 (3) of the CPC. There was therefore technical compliance with this section and the Prosecution was at liberty to call these witnesses. However, every effort should be made by the Prosecution to serve the necessary notices and documents as soon as possible after it is known that a person who has not given evidence at a preliminary enquiry has to be called as a Prosecution witness: at [5].

(2) There was no real substance in Ang's claims that the trial judge had cast aspersions on the conduct of Ang's counsel and that the trial judge was biased towards Ang. The trial judge, while discussing the question of counsel's conduct, had accepted counsel's explanation and had said so in his summing-up. The numerous examples of so-called bias were also quite trivial. While the trial judge had expressed himself in strong terms on various matters, the jury was left in no doubt that they were the sole judges of the facts in the case: at [8] to [12].

(3) The trial judge had directed the jury to consider whether the cumulative effect of all the circumstantial evidence led to the irresistible inference and conclusion that it was Ang who had committed the crime, or whether there was some other reasonably possible explanation of those facts. This was a perfectly adequate direction on the danger of convicting an accused person based on circumstantial evidence: at [13], [14] and [15].

(4) In this case, although Jenny's body had never been found, there was overwhelming evidence on the record that Ang had murdered her; and there was no miscarriage of justice: at [17].

Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 132, 1955 Rev Ed) s 192 (3) (consd)

P Coomaraswamy and Kirpal Singh (Braddell Brothers) for the appellant

Francis T Seow and K S Rajah (Deputy Public Prosecutor) for the respondent.

Tan Ah Tah ACJ

(delivering the judgment of the court):

1 The appellant was convicted on 18 May 1965 of the murder of one Jenny Cheok Cheng Kid (hereinafter referred to as “Jenny”) and was sentenced to death. He now appeals against that conviction.

2 According to the Prosecution the...

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76 cases
  • Public Prosecutor v Wong Wai Hung and Another
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 19 September 1992
    ....... . . . In the Singapore case of Sunny Ang v PP, [1966] 2 MLJ 195 the appellant was convicted of murder. One of the arguments raised at the appeal was that the trial judge had erred in law in failing adequately to direct the jury on the danger of convicting accused persons upon circumstantial evidence. Reference was made at p 198 ......
  • Tan Chor Jin v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 18 July 2008
    ...with the intent to cause physical injury. In reaching this conclusion, we agreed with the measured approach adopted in Sunny Ang v PP [1966] 2 MLJ 195 (at 195) on the utility of circumstantial evidence. We also endorse the High Court’s summary of principles expressed in Constance Chee (at T......
  • Public Prosecutor v Chee Cheong Hin Constance
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 7 April 2006
    ......It is trite law that the circumstantial evidence on which the prosecution relies must in the final analysis “inevitably and inexorably” lead the court to a single conclusion of the accused’s guilt: see Ang Sunny v PP [1965–1968] SLR 67 at 72, [14]. In PP v Oh Laye Koh [1994] 2 SLR 385 , the Court of Appeal emphasised that the Prosecution did not carry a higher burden in the final evaluation of a case predicated upon circumstantial evidence as opposed to one based on direct evidence. The court ......
  • Highway Video Pte Ltd v Public Prosecutor (Lim Tai Wah) and other appeals
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 11 December 2001
    ......As this test, laid down in Ang Sunny v PP [1965-1968] SLR 67 [1966] 2 MLJ 195 , is not satisfied, I allow the appellants` appeal and set aside their convictions under s 136(2) of the Copyright Act. In coming to this conclusion, I have taken into consideration the well-established principle, cited by the prosecution, that an ......
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