Public Prosecutor v Danial Punithanayagam

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeWong Peck
Judgment Date12 October 2011
Neutral Citation[2011] SGDC 342
Citation[2011] SGDC 342
Docket NumberDAC 32183 of 2011, Magistrate’s Appeal No. 235/2011/01
Published date12 October 2011
Plaintiff CounselASP Rai
Defendant CounselThe Accused in person
Hearing Date29 September 2011
District Judge Wong Peck:

The accused, who is a 23 years old Malaysian, pleaded guilty before me to one charge of importing 8.45 grams of diamorphine, a controlled drug specified in Class “A” of the First Schedule of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185) without authorization which is an offence under section 7 punishable under section 33 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (“MDA”). After having carefully considered the facts and circumstances of the case including the mitigation plea, I imposed an imprisonment term of 10 years and 10 strokes of the cane. On 4 October 2011, being dissatisfied, the accused filed an appeal in respect of the sentence that I had meted out for him.


According to the statement of facts which the accused has admitted to without qualification, on 9 November 2010, the accused arrived at the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (“ICA”) counter at Woodlands from Malaysia on a motorcycle bearing registration number JLT 4705. The accused then produced his passport to the ICA officer. The ICA officer informed the accused to wait at one corner. The accused complied and removed his helmet. Later, the accused was asked to carry his helmet and enter the ICA Secondary Team office (“ST”).

Upon entry into the ST office, officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau (“CNB”) took over the accused. Then the accused was instructed by a CNB officer, Staff Sergeant David Chew to leave the ST office and push his motorcycle to the K-9 garage located nearby. A preliminary search of the helmet and the motorcycle revealed nothing incriminating. However, Staff Sergeant Chew noted that the helmet was heavier than a normal helmet. So he decided to conduct further checks on the helmet. The accused was asked to hold onto his helmet and follow the officers to a X-ray machine.

When an X-ray screening was done on the helmet, the scan showed that there were some dark images of the helmet in the monitor of the X-ray machine. The accused was then escorted back to a CNB office in one of the Woodlands checkpoint area. One of the CNB officers opened the helmet’s inner padding and a packet of brown granular substance fell out. The accused was immediately placed under arrest.

Investigations revealed that on the night of 8 November 2010, the accused met one “Kumar” in a coffee shop in Tun Aminah. Kumar informed the accused that his elder brother wanted to see him. The accused agreed and was brought to a terrace house in “Kangkar Pulai”, which was far away from the town centre. When the accused was there, he was threatened by Kumar and one other unknown Indian person while being held down by two Indonesians. Both Kumar and the Indian person threatened the accused with parangs. This Indian person threatened the accused that if he refused to deliver the drugs the next day, both his and his brother’s lives would be endangered. On hearing this, the accused agreed to do the drug run. The next day, the accused left Singapore from Johor Bahru and was arrested at the Singapore Woodlands Checkpoint.

Investigations also revealed that the accused had done drug runs into Singapore 4 times. He had borrowed a sum of 10,000 ringgit from one “Pittan” for his parents who are farmers in Perak. In May and June 2010, as there were heavy floods that damaged his parents’ crops, he borrowed the money to help his parents. As the accused was unable to pay the interest for the loan after July 2010, Pittan introduced the accused to Kumar who told the accused that he would settle his debts provided the accused performed some jobs for him.

In early September 2010, Kumar called the accused to meet him in Tampoi. Upon arrival, Kumar asked the accused to hand over his motorcycle key as he wanted to go to the shop nearby. The accused complied. Kumar then came back after five minutes and informed the accused that he had placed a different helmet on the motorcycle and wanted the accused to ride the motorcycle into Singapore. Kumar further instructed the accused to call him before reaching Woodlands checkpoint and after crossing the checkpoint. Kumar added that he would then inform the accused what his role in the job would be thereafter. The accused agreed and did as he was asked.

After reaching Singapore, Kumar directed the accused to pass the helmet to a Malay person and to collect cash of $6,300 from the same Malay person. When the accused met this Malay person, the latter retrieved one packet of granular substance. When the accused saw this, he was shocked as he knew the packet contained drugs. He told Kumar he did not want to do any more of such jobs again and he wanted his original helmet back. Kumar told him that he would return the helmet back to him only if he did subsequent runs. In addition, the accused was also promised a sum of money for doing the runs although he was not paid at all. For the last drug run, he had refused to do it but since his and his brother’s lives were under threat, he did the run and was arrested.

After his arrest, the packet of granular substance was sent to Health Sciences Authority (“HSA”) for analysis. HSA then prepared a report bearing lab number ID-1032-02129-001. In the report, it was stated that the packet contained 456.1 grams of granular/powdery substance which was pulverised and homogenized into a powdery substance. The powdery substance was analysed and found to contain not less than 8.45 grams of diamorphine, at a confidence level of 99.9999%.


The accused is a first offender.


The accused tendered a written plea in mitigation. In his letter addressed to the court, he stated that before his arrest, he was working in Singapore for the past 3 years on a work permit. His family depends heavily on him as they have financial problems. His father is now the only one maintaining the family as an odd job labourer in a farm. His mother, a housewife, has a myriad of medical conditions. The accused has an elder brother who is wheelchair bound. His younger siblings are still schooling.

Being young and naïve, he wanted to earn money to lighten the financial burden on the family. He stated that he has learnt from his mistake and will never commit this mistake again. He pleaded with the court to impose the minimum sentence so that he could start a new life.

Prosecution’s submissions

The prosecution highlighted that the accused had imported a substantial amount of diamorphine into Singapore. However, the prosecution indicated that they were leaving sentencing to the court.

Prescribed Punishment

The prescribed punishment for the offence is a minimum of 5 years’ imprisonment and 5 strokes of the cane up to a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment...

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