Public Prosecutor v Gao TaoTao

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeNg Peng Hong
Judgment Date16 August 2016
Neutral Citation[2016] SGDC 215
Citation[2016] SGDC 215
Docket NumberDAC-928368-2015 & Ors
Published date20 August 2016
Plaintiff CounselKenneth Kee
Defendant Counselaccused in person
Hearing Date29 April 2016,02 August 2016,01 July 2016,03 August 2016,05 August 2016,13 July 2016,01 August 2016,28 April 2016
District Judge Ng Peng Hong:

The Accused claimed trial to 4 charges under the Misuse of Drugs Act, (“MDA”), (CAP 185, 2008 Rev Ed) . Briefly, the charges were for the consumption of a specified drug, namely, methamphetamine; possession of methamphetamine, a Class A controlled drug; possession of nimetazepam, a Class C controlled drug and the possession of utensils intended for the consumption of a controlled drug. See DAC 932723/2015, DAC 932724/2015, DAC 932725/2015 and DAC 928368/2015.

One of the issues in this case was whether the statement (exhibit P8) made by the Accused on 16 July 2015 at 2:08pm was admissible in evidence. The other issue was whether the drugs and utensils were in the possession of the Accused. The Accused also contended that she had no knowledge that the drugs found in her premises were illegal drugs, namely, nimetazepam.

Having reviewed the evidence and the submissions of the parties at the conclusion of the trial, I was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the Prosecution has proven the case against the Accused. Accordingly the Accused was found guilty and convicted. The Accused was sentenced to a total sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment. A charge for remaining unlawfully for 176 days, an offence punishable under s15(3)(b) of the Immigration Act, was taken into account for the purpose of sentencing. See DAC927812. The Accused is appealing against the conviction and sentence. I now give the reasons for my decision.

Prosecution’s Case

The Police raided the premises at block 204, Serangoon Central for vice activities involving one Gao Tao Tao, a China national. It was not disputed that the Accused was arrested on 15 July 2015 at about 5:30pm. At the time of arrest, the following exhibits were found and seized at the premises. The photographs of these exhibits can be found at P6-1 to 8. One of the exhibits was P6-4. The Accused agreed that P6-4 (also marked as P3) was drug – probably Ice. The HSA analyst confirmed it to be methamphetamine. See exhibit P1. The next exhibit was P10. It was found to be 2 tablets each marked “028” on one side and “5” on the other side. On analysis, the tablets were found to contain nimetazepam, a Class C controlled drug. See exhibit P2.

The Accused also admitted to Station Inspector Phua Tien Soon, Francis (PW2) that she had consumed drugs. All exhibits were sealed and reported to the charge office. The arrest report together with the details of the exhibits seized was admitted and marked as P 7. The Accused’s urine samples were taken and were found to contain methamphetamine.

Ancillary Hearing

An ancillary hearing was held to determine the admissibility of the long statement recorded on 16 July 2015 at 2:08pm by SSGT Chia Eu Foong (PW3). As the Accused was a female, Woman Inspector Bong Xiu Fong was also present during the recording of the statement. I found the statement was made voluntarily without any threat, inducement or promise. Accordingly the statement was admitted as exhibit P8.

No interpreter was present during the recording of P8 as SSGT Chia Eu Foong was competent to interpret to the Accused in Mandarin. After the recording, the statement was read back to the Accused. The Accused affirmed it to be her statement and signed on every page. The statement recording took more than an hour. She was given the opportunity to amend the statement. The Accused was noted to be depressed but was physically fine.

The Accused alleged that she did not have my lunch before the statement was taken. She claimed that lunch was not provided. She was also not allowed to rest. She alleged that she was very tired when her statement was taken. She felt very cold and no water was provided. She alleged that she could not understand the recording officer completely. Because of this, the statement was torn up at least twice. She claimed that what was recorded was different from what she wanted to express. When the statement was read back to her, she claimed it was different. She alleged that whatever SSGT Chia said she just nodded as she was very tired. There was also a suggestion by counsel that she was threatened.

I found the statement, P8, to be made voluntary and admitted as evidence. These were my reasons. Firstly, after the Accused was released on bail, she did not make any police report against SSGT Chia for the alleged threat. The Accused could not even articulate what was the threat uttered by SSGT Chia. I did not believe the Accused’s bare assertion that she was tired and therefore agreed to the statement even though it was not accurate. I found that the Accused had admitted that the statement was read back to her. She could have made the necessary amendments if the statement was not accurate. It was also not put to both Inspector Bong and SSGT Chia that the Accused was tired at the material time.

Regarding the allegation that the Accused was not offered food after her arrest, I found that she had admitted that she was provided with water and bread. But she claimed that she did not take the bread. The evidence of WSGT Ong Yu Ying also showed that food was recorded to have been served on 16 July 2015. See the Prison Ration Register (Exhibit AH1-P1). The Accused also admitted that breakfast was served. Woman Inspector Bong also testified that the Accused took bun and drank tea when the statement was taken. According to Inspector Bong the Accused did not complain about being hungry or thirsty. There was no reason to disbelieve or doubt the evidence of the prosecution witnesses. In these circumstances, I found that the Accused was not in a state of hunger or delirium such that her will sapped. I disbelieved the Accused’s bare allegation that she was hungry, tired and wanted to end the statement quickly. I found that there was no threat inducement or promise given during the recording of the statement, P8.

For the avoidance of doubt, I also rejected the allegation that the statement did not reflect accurately what was stated in P8. There was no reason for the recording officer to lie. The Accused was also given the opportunity to amend her statement. In the circumstances, I did not doubt the accuracy of P8.

Procurement, Testing, Labelling and Sealing of the Urine Samples

On 16 July 2015, the Accused was escorted by Police Station Inspector Siti Sha’idah for the procurement of the Accused’s urine specimen. I found no evidence to indicate that the procedure for the urine procurement was not properly done. After the urine had been procured, an Instant Urine Test was then conducted by Cpl Vengedesh Raj Nainat . He gave evidence as to how the instant urine test was done. There was no evidence to show that it was not done properly. The Accused’s urine test result was positive. The result was given to the sealing officer SGT Sebastian See. SGT See gave evidence on the sealing process and confirmed that the Accused signed on the labels which were then pasted on the urine specimen bottles. The Accused deposited them into a locked security box for despatch to the HSA.

I had no reason to doubt the evidence of the various officers involved in the procurement, testing, labelling and sealing of the urine samples. It was also not disputed by the Defence in the submission. In any event, I was of the view that it was done properly in accordance with the procedure. I also found that the urine samples were properly labelled, checked, signed and deposited into the security box and were despatched to the Analytical Toxicology Laboratory, Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for further analysis.

The HSA Certificates

The urine samples of the Accused were sent to HSA for analysis on 20 July 2015. This was confirmed by the evidence of SSGT Kum Chin Siang.

Two certificates under section 16...

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