Public Prosecutor v Goh Da Wei and Another and Another Case

CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)
JudgeEric Tin Keng Seng
Judgment Date19 June 2003
Neutral Citation[2003] SGMC 21
Citation[2003] SGMC 21
Publication Date02 October 2003
Plaintiff CounselInsp Teo Keng Beng (Singapore Police Force)
Defendant CounselBenedict Tan (M/s Hee Theng Fong & Co),Kertar Singh (M/s Kertar & Co)

Background

1 Goh Da Wei (“Goh”) and Chin Yong Kian (“Chin”) originally faced 10 charges for various offences under the Films Act (Cap. 107). Upon successful representations, the prosecution withdrew 2 charges (PS 17 and 18 of 2003, and PS 115 and 116 of 2003 respectively), and proceeded on 2 charges against each of them. The remaining charges were taken into consideration for sentence. Although their pleas were taken separately before me on 12 May 2003, this joint grounds of decision is necessary as their cases are closely connected.

2 Goh and Chin were convicted on their respective plea of guilt, after they understood the nature and consequence of their plea and admitted without any qualification to their respective statement of facts. The charges against Goh stated that he had in his possession 25 obscene films for the purpose of distribution, and had reproduced 70 obscene films. He had reasonable cause to believe that all these films were obscene. He was therefore guilty of an offence under s 29(3)(a) of the Films Act (PS 10 of 2003), and an offence under s 29(1)(a) of the Films Act (PS 15 of 2003). Chin, on the other hand, had abetted by engaging in a conspiracy with Goh to commit both offences. He was therefore guilty of an offence under s 29(3)(a) of the Films Act read with s 109 of the Penal Code (PS 108 of 2003), and an offence under s 29(1)(a) of the Films Act read with s 109 of the Penal Code (PS 113 of 2003).

Summary of facts

3 Here is a summary of the facts. On 15 May 2002, X, a 14 year old boy reported to the Bedok Police Division HQ that he had secured a deal with an unknown subject over the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) to buy 26 pieces of obscene and uncensored VCDs. The place of transaction was fixed at Bedok MRT station that day at about 3 pm. Acting on this information, police officers were despatched. X was then informed that the location of transaction was changed to Bedok Bus Interchange. At about 4.05 pm, A police officer pretended to be X and met Goh. During the conversation, Goh opened his haversack and showed some VCDs of obscene nature. He told the undercover officer to pay $288 for the 26 pieces of VCDs he ordered. At this point, the undercover officer signalled to the other officers in ambush and arrested Goh. Various items, including VCDs, were recovered and seized from Goh. Goh admitted that all the VCDs found on him were ordered by an unknown male subject by the name of “Benjamin” through his accomplice Chin in IRC and he was supposed to sell them to “Benjamin” for $288.

4 During investigations, Goh admitted that he was in a joint business with Chin to duplicate obscene films and solicit transactions in IRC, and to provide distribution services for potential customers. He admitted being in charge of duplicating films from VCDs with his CD reader and writer drives at his No 62 Lentor Avenue residence, whereas Chin would advertise and solicit customers in IRC and take orders. Both Goh and Chin had bought the compact disc reader from Sim Lim Square for the purpose of this “business venture”. On the same day, Goh led the officers to his residence where more incriminating items were found. Notably, these included many pieces of VCDs, some papers with sale transactions, a CPU without cover, with external CD reader and writer drives. Goh admitted that the CPU was used for duplicating the VCDs. He had used 24 pieces of master obscene VCDs to copy into the first hard disk and thereafter duplicated the movies into the empty CDs. This was done between 11 to 13 May 2002. Chin, his accomplice, also admitted during investigations to his involvement in this partnership. He also confirmed his role of advertising and soliciting customers in IRC and taking orders.

5 The 27 pieces of VCDs seized from Goh at the Bedok Bus Interchange on 15 May 2002 were sent to the Board of Films Censors for examination and it was established that 25 of the VCDs contained 25 obscene films. These were in Goh’s possession for the purpose of distribution, and Chin had conspired with him in this. The 21 jackets of VCDs and 125 pieces of VCDs found in Goh’s residence were similarly examined by the Board and it was established that 70 of the VCDs contained 70 obscene films. Goh had reproduced these films between 11 to 13 May 2002, and Chin had conspired with him in this. Both of them had reasonable cause to believe all these films that were seized by the police were obscene in nature.

Charges taken into consideration

6 Goh and Chin further admitted to 6 other offences each, and consented to these taken into consideration for the purpose of sentence. One was a charge against Chin for advertising obscene films for the purpose of distribution having reasonable cause to believe the films were obscene, punishable under s 31(2)(a) of the Films Act (PS 117 of 2003). The charge against Goh was for abetment of this offence (PS 19 of 2003). The other charges were for offences by Goh and abetment by conspiracy by Chin for:

a. attempting to distribute one uncensored film under s 21(1)(b) punishable under s 21(1)(ii) of the Films Act read with s 511 of the Penal Code (Cap 224) (PS 11 and 109 of 2003);

b. carrying on a business of distributing films without a valid license under s 6(1)(a) punishable under s 6(2) of the Films Act (PS 12 and 110 of 2003);

c. possession of 16 obscene films having reasonable cause to believe these films were obscene under s 30(2)(a) of the Films Act (PS 13 and 111 of 2003);

d. possession of 4 films that were without a valid certificate approving the exhibition of these films under s 21(1)(a) punishable under s 21(1)(i) of the Films Act; (PS 16 and 112 of 2003) and

e. reproducing 2 films that were without a valid certificate approving the exhibition of these films under s 21(1)(c) punishable under s 21(1)(ii) of the Films Act (PS 19 and 114 of 2003).

Antecedents and mitigation

7 Goh and Chin have no criminal record.

8 In mitigation, it was highlighted that Goh committed the offence when he was 19 years old. He is a final year with Nanyang Polytechnic. He had excelled academically since secondary school, received merit award, scholarships, represented the school in inter-school mathematics quiz, and participated in inter-class debate competitions and was in fact a member of the winning team. Counsel for Goh, Mr Benedict Tan, submitted he had no criminal...

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