Public Prosecutor v Aniza bte Essa

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeChan Seng Onn J
Judgment Date28 April 2008
Neutral Citation[2008] SGHC 61
Citation[2008] SGHC 61
Plaintiff CounselTan Kiat Pheng and Samuel Chua (Attorney-General’s Chambers)
Docket NumberCriminal Case No 9 of 2008
Subject MatterAccused pleading guilty to abetting culpable homicide not amounting to murder,Sentencing,Offences,Accused suffering from depression amounting to abnormality of mind at time of offence,Mentally disordered offenders,Criminal Law,Criminal Procedure and Sentencing,Accused not predisposed to violence,Whether accused of unstable character and likely to commit such offence in future,Culpable homicide
Defendant CounselNoor Mohamed Marican (Marican & Associates)
Date28 April 2008
Published date29 April 2008

28 April 2008

Judgment reserved.

Chan Seng Onn J:

Introduction

1 The public prosecutor proceeded against the accused, Aniza Binte Essa (“Aniza”), on the following charge:

That you, Aniza Binte Essa, are charged that you, between mid June 2007 and 1 July 2007, in Singapore, did engage with one Muhammad Nasir Bin Abdul Aziz in a conspiracy to cause death of one Manap Bin Sarlip, male, 29 years old, and in pursuance of that conspiracy and in order to the doing of that thing, an act took place on 1 July 2007, sometime between 5.00am. and 7.47am., at the 16th floor unit #16-328 of Block 74 Whampoa Drive, Singapore, to wit, the said Muhammad Nasir Bin Abdul Aziz did cause the death of the said Manap Bin Sarlip, which act was committed in consequence of your abetment, and you have thereby committed an offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder punishable under section 304(a) read with section 109 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.

2 Aniza’s original charge of abetment of murder was reduced to the above charge of abetment of culpable homicide not amounting to murder because her mental condition at the time of the offence allowed her to qualify for the defence of diminished responsibility.

3 She pleaded guilty to the reduced charge under s 304(a) read with s 109 of the Penal Code, for which she is liable to be punished with imprisonment for life, or imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine or to caning. She is not liable to caning by virtue of s 231(a) of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68, 1985 Ed), and the court has no discretion to impose a sentence of more than 10 years, but less than life imprisonment: PP v Tan Kei Loon Allan [1999] 2 SLR 288. What happens if the case deserves a sentence between 10 years and life imprisonment? The Court of Appeal in Tan Kei Loon Allan had already answered that question at [40], where it said:

In a situation in which the court is desirous of a sentence greater than ten years, but feels that a sentence of life imprisonment is excessive, we have no choice but to come down, however reluctantly, on the side of leniency. Otherwise, the punishment imposed would significantly exceed the offender’s culpability. It would, in our view, be wrong to adopt an approach in which the court would prefer an excessive sentence to an inadequate one.

4 I convicted Aniza on the reduced charge and imposed a sentence of 9 years imprisonment. The public prosecutor has appealed against the sentence. I now give my reasons.

Statement of facts

5 I will set out briefly the statement of facts, which was admitted by Aniza without any qualification.

6 Aniza was 24 years old at the time of the offence. At the time of her arrest, she was working as a waitress at Razcals Pub (“the Pub”). Manap Bin Sarlip (“the deceased”) was her husband. They were married in September 2001 and have two boys, 2 and 5 years of age. The deceased was 29 years old when he died. Before his death, he was working as a disc jockey at Amaran Discotheque.

7 The co-accused is Muhammad Nasir Bin Abdul Aziz (“Nasir”). He was only 16 years old at the time of the offence.

8 Sometime in November / December 2006, Aniza became acquainted with Nasir when he patronised the Pub where Aniza was working. Nazir went to the Pub regularly and he began to like Aniza. In February 2007, Nasir started working as a bartender in the Pub. Sometime in February / March 2007, Aniza began an extra-marital affair with Nasir.

9 Aniza was having problems in her marriage with the deceased, who was convicted for desertion from the Civil Defence and was imprisoned on 15 June 2005. During the deceased’s imprisonment, Aniza worked as a waitress cum hostess at the Pub to support herself and her two children. After the deceased’s release from prison on 15 August 2006, he was unable to secure employment with a stable income. Aniza remained as the main breadwinner of the family. She began to quarrel with the deceased over financial problems of the family. Nasir advised Aniza to apply for a divorce but she told Nasir that the deceased would not divorce her.

10 In mid June 2007, Aniza informed Nasir that she could no longer tolerate the deceased. Nasir again advised Aniza to apply for a divorce. Again, Aniza replied that it would be useless because the deceased would not divorce her. After some discussion, Aniza and Nasir agreed that the deceased had to be killed to end her marriage problems. Aniza told Nasir that she had a former boyfriend who was willing to kill the deceased and marry her. She further told Nasir that he had to leave her if her former boyfriend succeeded in killing the deceased. Nasir told Aniza that he was willing to kill the deceased for her since he loved her very much and he feared losing her. However, Nasir asked Aniza to give him some time to think of a way to do so and Aniza agreed.

11 Sometime on or about 21 June 2007, Nasir approached one Mohamad Zulkarnain Bin Hasan also known as ‘Saigon’ at the Pub to find an assassin. ‘Saigon’ subsequently told Nasir that he had found an assassin who was willing to kill a man for $500. ‘Saigon’ told Nasir to provide him with a photograph and the address of the deceased so that he could forward them to the assassin.

12 Nasir informed Aniza that he had found someone to kill the deceased for a fee and that he had to provide the assassin with the deceased’s photograph and the block number of the flat. Aniza gave the deceased’s photograph and the block number to Nasir. On or about 27 June 2007, Nasir gave Saigon the block number and the deceased’s photograph, and instructed ‘Saigon’ that he wanted the deceased to be killed by 29 June 2007.

13 On 28 June 2007, Aniza complained to Nasir that she could not tolerate the deceased’s yelling at her anymore. She asked Nasir when he was going to kill the deceased. Nasir said that the deceased would be killed by 29 June 2007. He promised to leave her if he did not succeed.

14 Subsequently, Nasir tried calling ‘Saigon’ on his mobile phone but the latter did not answer. Nasir also sent messages to ‘Saigon’s’ mobile phone on 28 and 29 June 2007 asking him whether the deceased could be killed. ‘Saigon’ never gave him an answer.

(i) First attempt to kill the deceased

15 When Nasir could not reach ‘Saigon’, he decided to ambush the deceased himself and slit his throat with a Swiss Army knife when the deceased returned home.

16 On 30 June 2007, at about 3.15am, Nasir waited at the ground floor of Block 74 Whampoa Drive. He planned to attack the deceased near lift ‘D’ of the said block. Aniza told Nasir that she would not be around when he killed the deceased and that she would go out with her colleagues that morning. Nasir called Aniza and asked her to call the deceased to check his whereabouts. Aniza replied that the deceased was on his way home. At that time, Nasir was reluctant to kill the deceased himself and so he abandoned his plan to kill the deceased that morning.

17 When Nasir told Aniza that he could not carry out his plan to kill the deceased, Aniza was disappointed. She told Nasir that since he failed to kill the deceased he had to leave her as promised. Aniza again told Nasir that she would get her friend to kill the deceased. He asked Aniza to give him one more day to kill the deceased. Aniza agreed and she promised Nasir that she would be with him all her life and love him more if he succeeded in killing the deceased that day.

(ii) Second attempt to kill the deceased

18 On 30 June 2007, Nasir and Aniza went to the Pub. At the locker room in the Pub, Aniza saw that Nasir had brought along a motorcycle crash helmet, a Swiss Army knife and a pair of gloves in a sling bag. Nasir told Aniza that he planned to kill the deceased that afternoon and asked Aniza what time the deceased would usually leave home for work. Aniza told Nasir that the deceased would usually leave for work at about 5pm. Nasir told Aniza that he would attack the deceased at about 5pm. Aniza agreed to Nasir’s plan and cautioned him to be careful.

19 While they were at the Pub, Aniza saw Nasir taking a knife from the bar counter which he usually used to cut lemons, sharpening it, wrapping it in newspaper and placing it inside the motorcycle crash helmet. She also saw Nasir sharpening the Swiss Army knife.

20 At about 3.30pm, Aniza saw Nasir preparing to leave the Pub with the sling bag containing the motorcycle crash helmet, the sharpened knife and Swiss Army knife and the pair of gloves. Before leaving the Pub, Nasir informed Aniza that he was going to the flat to kill the deceased. Nasir told Aniza that if he succeeded in killing the deceased, he would end her suffering and they could be together. Nasir asked Aniza to call the deceased to ascertain his whereabouts. Aniza sent a message to the deceased on his mobile phone and asked him where he was. The deceased replied that he was still at home and Aniza informed Nasir accordingly. Aniza instructed Nasir to delete his messages and call details from his mobile phone.

21 About 20 minutes later, Aniza received a call from Nasir, who informed her that he was already on the 16th floor of Block 74 Whampoa Drive and was waiting for the deceased to leave the flat. At about 4.28pm, Nasir informed Aniza that the deceased had not left the flat. Aniza told Nasir to wait.

22 At about 5.25pm, Nasir called Aniza to inform her that he had failed to kill the deceased because a neighbour had suddenly appeared on the same floor just as the deceased was leaving the flat. That was, however, not the case. Nasir made up this story because he was still reluctant to kill the deceased. Aniza expressed her disappointment and asked Nasir what he was going to do about it. Nasir assured Aniza that he would kill the deceased that night. Aniza agreed but she told Nasir that if he failed again, he had to leave her. She then told Nasir to return to the Pub. At about 6pm, Nasir returned to the Pub in a taxi.

(iii) The killing of the...

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5 cases
  • Public Prosecutor v Aniza bte Essa
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 20 April 2009
    ...her 16-year-old lover, to kill her husband (“the deceased”). As the facts of the case are set out fully in PP v Aniza bte Essa [2008] 3 SLR 832 (“the Judgment”), we will, in this judgment, refer only to the material facts that are relevant to the issues of Material facts 5 Aniza had married......
  • Public Prosecutor v Aniza bte Essa
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 20 April 2009
    ...her 16-year-old lover, to kill her husband (“the deceased”). As the facts of the case are set out fully in PP v Aniza bte Essa [2008] 3 SLR 832 (“the Judgment”), we will, in this judgment, refer only to the material facts that are relevant to the issues of Material facts 5 Aniza had married......
  • Public Prosecutor v Azlin bte Arujunah and another
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 13 August 2020
    ...Code where culpability is high, the discretion is viewed with significance. Chan Seng Onn J in Public Prosecutor v Aniza bte Essa [2008] 3 SLR(R) 832 (“Aniza”) expressed the view, at [45], that “the DPP must establish that this case is one that extends beyond the mere fact that the accused ......
  • Public Prosecutor v Azlin bte Arujunah and other appeals
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 12 July 2022
    ...it is relevant in the context of violent crimes to have regard to the High Court’s observations in Public Prosecutor v Aniza bte Essa [2008] 3 SLR(R) 832 at [47] (made in the context of s 304(a) of the Penal Code): Another special circumstance in the context of s 304(a) is that the manner i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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