Public Prosecutor v Alan Tan Boon Kiat

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeRonald Gwee
Judgment Date31 October 2022
Neutral Citation[2022] SGDC 210
Citation[2022] SGDC 210
Published date05 November 2022
Hearing Date15 February 2022
Docket NumberDistrict Arrest Case No 935135 of 2019 and Others, Magistrate’s Appeals No 9040 of 2022-01
Plaintiff CounselChoong Hefeng Gabriel (Attorney-General's Chambers)
Defendant CounselTan Jin Song and Kong Hui Xin, Annette (Havelock Law Corporation)
Subject MatterCriminal Law,Statutory offences,Misuse of Drugs Act,Criminal Procedure and Sentencing,Sentencing
District Judge Ronald Gwee:

The Accused, Alan Tan Boon Kiat (“Tan”), was first charged in Court on 23 November 2019, having committed three drug-related offences. These three offences were committed on or around 21 November 2019. After initial periods of remand (separately) for purposes of investigations and for psychiatric evaluation, Tan was released on Bail.

Whilst Tan was on Bail, he went on to commit further, and more serious drug-related offences. These fresh offences formed the basis of nine further Charges faced by Tan, and were committed on or around 9 September 2020. The time lapse between the commission of both sets of offences was a period of less than 10 months. The offences committed in November 2019 will hereafter be referred to as the “First Set of Offences”, and the offences committed in September 2020 will hereafter be referred to as the “Second Set of Offences”.

Tan faced a total of 12 Charges. Tan pleaded guilty before me to four proceeded Charges. The other nine Charges were to be taken into consideration (“TIC”) for purposes of sentencing. Tan admitted to these Charges and consented to their being taken into consideration as aforesaid. Of the four proceeded Charges Tan pleaded guilty to, two were offences from the First Set of Offences, and two were offences from the Second Set of Offences. Tan admitted to the Statement of Facts (“SOF”) without qualification.

As Tan had committed all these offences whilst he was on remission for his previous sentences, he was also liable to be additionally punished under s 50T of the Prisons Act. The maximum (cumulative) enhanced sentence Tan faced was imprisonment for a total of 459 days.

Tan was represented by Counsel. Counsel’s submission on sentence at the outset was not too different from that of the Prosecution’s, in terms of the totality of the sentence to be meted out. During further oral submissions on sentence, the Defence’s stance was modified to reach a total sentence which was lower compared to the initial position taken by the Defence. This will be illustrated later.

After Tan was sentenced, Defence filed an appeal against sentence. Tan is currently serving sentence.

The Table below gives a quick overview of the four proceeded Charges, and the salient points relating to these Charges. The term “Enhanced Possession” refers to the offences Tan committed where he had in his possession, Class A controlled drugs without authorisation. As Tan had previously committed a similar offence of unauthorised possession of a controlled drug, he was facing a mandatory minimum imprisonment sentence of two years for each such Charge. The term “LT1” refers to the offence of the consumption of a specified drug without authorisation, where there had been two relevant antecedents. Such an offence is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of five years’ imprisonment and a mandatory minimum 3 strokes of the cane. We come to the offence denoted as “Enhanced Trafficking”. The discussion for this Charge will be the most detailed. “Enhanced Trafficking” refers to Tan having trafficked in a Class A controlled drug by having in his possession for the purpose of trafficking that said drug, without authorisation; and in a situation where Tan had previously committed a similar offence. For the “Enhanced Trafficking” Charge, Tan would be punished with a mandatory minimum imprisonment sentence of 10 years and a mandatory minimum 10 strokes of the cane. The Table also shows the Prosecution’s submission on the enhanced sentences to be imposed pursuant to s 50T of the Prisons Act. (The Defence did not make any submission on the issue of the enhanced sentences to be meted out and left these to the Court to decide.)

Offence From First Set of Offences or Second Set of Offences Mandatory Minimum Sentence Prosecution’s submission on sentence Prosecution’s submission on enhanced sentence Defence’s (initial) submission on sentence
LT1 First 5 years’ Imprisonment and 3 strokes of the cane 5 years’ Imprisonment and 3 strokes of the cane 230 to 306 days’ imprisonment 5 years’ imprisonment and 3 strokes of the cane (consecutive)
Enhanced Possession First 2 years’ imprisonment 2 years’ imprisonment (consecutive) 153 to 306 days’ imprisonment 2 years’ imprisonment
Enhanced Possession Second 2 years’ imprisonment 2 years’ 6 months to 3 years’ imprisonment 111 days’ imprisonment 2 years’ imprisonment
Enhanced Trafficking Second 10 years’ imprisonment and 10 strokes of the cane 18 to 21 years’ imprisonment and 12 to 14 strokes of the cane
...

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