Pp v Afr

Judgment Date11 August 2010
Date11 August 2010
Docket NumberCriminal Case No 44 of 2009
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Public Prosecutor

[2010] SGHC 230

Lee Seiu Kin J

Criminal Case No 44 of 2009

High Court

Criminal Law—Offences—Culpable homicide—Sentencing—Section 304 (b) Penal Code (Cap 224, 2008 Rev Ed)

The accused was convicted of the culpable homicide of his infant daughter. The accused loved his daughter and, on the day in question, was intending to give her a doll for her birthday. He had been in a good mood until he arrived home and saw his daughter chewing on his tobacco. He initially scolded her but when she began to cry he grew stressed and began hitting her. The accused thought he was teaching his daughter a lesson, but in the heat of the moment, his varied and long-standing frustrations overcame him. As he lost control of his emotions, the blows became more and more frenzied. His daughter died of internal injuries suffered as a result of the beating.

Held, sentencing the accused to six years' imprisonment:

(1) Cases showed that a range of two and a half to ten years' imprisonment had been imposed for convictions under s 304 (b) of the Penal Code (Cap 224, 2008 Rev Ed). The range of sentences reflected the wide spectrum of circumstances of culpable homicide: at [4] to [11].

(2) Taking into account the range of sentences imposed and the circumstances of the case: in particular, the fact that the accused would have to live with the knowledge that his uncontrolled anger caused the death of his beloved daughter, and the need to impose a suitable punishment, a sentence of six years' imprisonment was appropriate: at [12].

PP v AFR [2011] 3 SLR 653 (refd)

PP v Aw Teck Hock [2003] 1 SLR (R) 167; [2003] 1 SLR 167 (refd)

PP v Leong Soon Kheong [2009] 4 SLR (R) 63; [2009] 4 SLR 63 (refd)

PP v Lim Ah Seng [2007] 2 SLR (R) 957; [2007] 2 SLR 957 (refd)

PP v McCrea Michael [2006] 3 SLR (R) 677; [2006] 3 SLR 677 (refd)

PP v Oon Oon Sang Tee Criminal Case No 11 of 2006 (refd)

PP v Tan Kei Loon Allan [1998] 3 SLR (R) 679; [1999] 2 SLR 288 (refd)

PP v Teo Chee Seng [2005] 3 SLR (R) 250; [2005] 3 SLR 250 (refd)

PP v Wan Chin Hon [2005] SGHC 121 (refd)

Purwanti Parji v PP [2005] 2 SLR (R) 220; [2005] 2 SLR 220 (refd)

Soosay v PP [1993] 2 SLR (R) 670; [1993] 3 SLR 272 (refd)

Tan Chee Hwee v PP [1993] 2 SLR (R) 493; [1993] 2 SLR 657 (refd)

Tan Chun Seng v PP [2003] 2 SLR (R) 506; [2003] 2 SLR 506 (refd)

Penal Code (Cap 224, 2008 Rev Ed) s 304 (b) (consd) ;ss 201, 299, 304, 304 (a)

Cheng Howe Ming Winston and Tan Wei Ling Stella (Attorney-General's Chambers) for the Prosecution

Kanagavijayan Nadarajan (Kana & Co) and Rajan Supramaniam (Hilborne & Co) for the accused.

Lee Seiu Kin J


1 The accused was charged with the murder of his daughter some 22 days before her second birthday. The charge states as follows:

that you, on the 6th day of January 2009, between 7.30 pm and 7.45 pm at [address redacted] did commit murder, by causing the death of one [the deceased], female, aged 1 year and 11 months old (D.O.B: 28 January 2007), and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under section 302 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224 (2008 Rev. Ed.).

2 At the end of the trial I reserved judgment and gave my decision on 17 March 2010. I acquitted the accused of the charge of murder but convicted him of the charge of culpable homicide under s 299 and punishable under s 304 (b) of the Penal Code (Cap 224, 2008 Rev Ed) (‘the Act’). Submissions on sentence were made by the Prosecution and defence counsel on 19 April 2010, at the end of which I sentenced the accused to six years' imprisonment with effect from the date of his arrest. The Public Prosecutor has appealed against the sentence and I now give the grounds for my decision on the sentence.

3 The deceased had died as a result of a rupture to the inferior vena cava (‘IVC’), a large vein that carries de-oxygenated blood from the lower half of the body into the heart. The severe bleeding that followed the rupture caused her heart to fail within minutes. The accused had subjected the deceased to a severe beating with blows from his fists and possibly his feet to her back, head and arms. I found that those blows had caused the rupture to the IVC although the evidence was unclear as to the exact mechanism. This was because the pathologist had testified that such rupture was more commonly seen in high speed collisions, yet the blows were not severe enough to cause any fracture to the ribs of the deceased. Nevertheless, the multiple blows on the trunk had caused bleeding in the left lung and caecum and the rupture to the IVC could only be caused by the beating inflicted on the deceased by the accused. The full findings of fact are set out in my judgment in [2011] 3 SLR 653 dated 17 March 2010 and I do not propose to repeat them here, save to reproduce parts of [41] and [42] of that judgment which distil the essential facts:

  1. 41 ... The deceased was [the accused's] natural daughter. All of the witnesses who knew the family said that he loved the deceased, even though he had a violent streak and had physically abused her. On the day in question, up to the moment he entered the flat upon returning from his shopping trip, he felt nothing but love for the deceased. He was thinking of her upcoming birthday and had felt that he should buy her a present as he might not have another opportunity to do so. As he entered the flat, he was feeling rather pleased with himself for buying the doll and was keen to hand...

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2 cases
  • Pp v Afr
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • May 27, 2011
    ...the respondent had kicked the Child's back when her chest and face were touching the floor. Nothing was said in the GD on sentence (see [2011] 3 SLR 680) about the respondent kicking and stamping on the Child. This left the Court of Appeal with considerable doubt as to whether this aspect o......
  • Public Prosecutor v Mohammad Johan bin Rashid
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • March 28, 2011
    ...a long deterrent sentence on the accused is that in this case, as in PP v Sarle Steepan s/o Kolundu [2009] 4 SLR(R) 1143 and PP v AFR [2010] SGHC 230, the act was not pre-meditated and arose from a total failure to control one’s anger. Nonetheless, the seriousness of the case, and the grief......

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