Public Prosecutor v Lee Hui Yin aka Tarchandi Tan

JurisdictionSingapore
JudgeKow Keng Siong
Judgment Date10 July 2023
Neutral Citation[2023] SGMC 51
CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)
Docket NumberMCN 901073 of 2022 & Ors
Hearing Date07 July 2023,10 July 2023,26 June 2023,27 June 2023,28 June 2023,30 June 2023
Citation[2023] SGMC 51
Year2023
Plaintiff CounselDPP Chong Kee En & DPP Muhd Nur Hidayat
Defendant CounselAccused in person.
Subject MatterCriminal law,Elements of crime,Failure to attend in obedience to order from public servant,Legally bound to attend,Scope of offence,Section 174 read with s 40 and s 43 Penal Code 2010,Whether an accused person is entitled to disregard an order to attend at a police station or at the court on the basis that she is a sovereign individual,Section 174 Penal Code 2010,Words and Phrases v "Must",Whether there is an obligation to attend before a police officer as specified in an order issued under s 21(1) Criminal Procedure Code 2010
Published date18 July 2023
District Judge Kow Keng Siong: Introduction Proceeded Charges

Lee Hui Yin, aka Tarchandi Tan (“the Accused”), claimed trial to the following charges before me (“Proceeded Charges”):

Charge 5

Failure to attend at police station

You, […] are charged that you, did fail to attend in obedience to an order from a public servant, to wit, an order by Station Inspector Noor Azhar Daud (“the Order”) under section 21(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code 2010 was sent to you on 5 August 2022 at your registered address at […], and the said Order required you to attend in person to a police investigation at the Central Police Division Headquarters (“Central Police HQ”) on 10 August 2022 at 11:00am, and having received this Order, you were legally bound, but did so intentionally omit to attend at the police investigation at the Central Police HQ on 10 August 2022, and you have thereby committed an offence under section 174(1) punishable under section 174(1)(a) of the Penal Code 1871.

[emphasis added]

Charge 6

Failure to attend at police station

You, […] are charged that you, did fail to attend in obedience to an order from a public servant, to wit, an order (“the Order”) under section 21(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code 2010 was issued by the learned District Judge Chee Min Pin, and was delivered to you on 19 August 2022 at your registered address at […], and the said Order required you to attend in person to a police investigation at the Central Police Division Headquarters (“Central Police HQ”) on 31 August 2022 at 11:00am, and having received this Order, you were legally bound, but did so intentionally omit to attend at the police investigation at the Central Police HQ on 31 August 2022, and you have thereby committed an offence under section 174(1) punishable under section 174(1)(a) of the Penal Code 1871.

[emphasis added]

Charge 7

Failure to attend before a court

You, […] are charged that you, did fail to attend in obedience to an order from a public servant, to wit, a notice (“the Notice”) under section 110(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code 2010 issued by Inspector Ee Soon Sen Andrew was delivered to you on 2 September 2022 at your registered address at […], and the said Notice required you to attend in person to the State Courts of the Republic of Singapore on 15 September 2022 at 10:00am (“the State Courts”), and having received this Order, you were legally bound, but did so intentionally omit to attend at the State Courts on 15 September 2022, and you have thereby committed an offence under section 174(2) punishable under section 174(2)(a) of the Penal Code 1871.

[emphasis added]

Charge 3

Using criminal force to deter police officer from discharge of her duty

You, […], are charged that you, on the 10th Day of November 2022, at or about 01:20 pm, at along Keppel Road, Singapore, in the Police Vehicle (“QX60Z”), did, without grave or sudden provocation, intentionally use force on against one Senior Staff Sergeant Nur Misriya Binte Abdul Mutalib, a Singapore Police Force Officer, in relation to the execution of her duty as a public servant, to wit, by using your mouth and saliva to spit on her face, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 353 of the Penal Code 1871.

[emphasis added]

Charge 4

Using criminal force to deter police officer from discharge of his duty

You, […] are charged that you, on the 10th Day of November 2022, at or about 01:20 pm, at along Keppel Road, Singapore, in the Police Vehicle (“QX60Z”), did, without grave or sudden provocation, intentionally use force on against one Station Inspector, Noor Azhar Daud, a Singapore Police Force Officer, in relation to the execution of his duty as a public servant, to wit, by using your mouth and saliva to spit on his face, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 353 of the Penal Code 1871.

[emphasis added]

18 August 2021 incidents

For context, the “police investigations” referred to in Charges 5 and 6, and the court attendance referred to in Charge 7, relate to incidents that took place on 18 August 2021. On that occasion, the Accused had allegedly (a) used insulting words towards a District Judge and (b) exhibited disorderly behaviour at the State Courts (“18 August 2021 incidents”). The Accused was eventually charged for these incidents. The two charges in relation to these incidents were stood down and not the subject of the trial before me (“Stood Down Charges”).

Conviction on Proceeded Charges

At the end of the trial, I found the Accused guilty of the Proceeded Charges and convicted her accordingly. I will now set out the reasons for my decision.

The Prosecution’s case Charges 5 – 7

Charges 5 – 7 assert that the Accused had disobeyed orders given to her to attend at the police station and at court on three occasions. The Accused did not dispute these assertions. The circumstances of (a) how these orders had been given and (b) how the Accused had come to disobey them are as follows.

Charge 5 – Failure to attend at police station on 10 August 2022

On 5 August 2022, Station Inspector Noor Azhar Daud (“SI Azhar”) issued a notice to the Accused under s 21(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code 2010 (“CPC”): exhibit P1 (“Notice”). The notice required her to attend at the Central Police Division Headquarters (“police station”) on 10 August 2022 at 11.00 am. As stated earlier, her attendance was required in connection with police investigations into the 18 August 2021 incidents.

It is not disputed that the Accused knew about the Notice. On 5 August 2022, SI Azhar communicated with the Accused over the phone to request her to attend at the police station for an interview. An exchange of SMS messages between the Accused and SI Azhar reveals the following (exhibit D3):

12.44 pm From Accused – “Hi Sir, u just called, may I know which police station to go on Aug 10th
12.44 pm From SI Azhar – “Mdm, Central police division, Blk A level 3
12.46 pm From Accused – “Noted. Thank you.
12.52 pm From Accused – “My Ambassador says to Issue me an official letter to confirm that my presence is required.
01.00 pm From Accused – “I can only bring my bf, but he cannot bail me for now, is it need somebody who can bail? I also donn wann make things difficult for u …
01.35 pm From Accused – “It’s not possible to get official letter issue?
01.35 pm From SI Azhar – “Can
01.35 pm From SI Azhar – “Can i meet you today to collect the letter?
01.36 pm From SI Azhar – “Today I meet you at 3 pm?
01.36 pm From Accused – “U mean I come station to collect the letter at 3 pm?
01.39 pm From Azhar – “Yes Mdm.
01.42 pm From Accused – “Ooi adoi, this one can take photo and send me lah …
01.43 pm From SI Azhar – “ok
01.43 pm From Accused – “Ah good, bagoos
01.51 pm From SI Azhar: SMS contains a pdf document which is a copy of the Notice
[emphasis in bold added; typos in original text]
On 5 August 2022, SI Azhar had also visited the Accused at her registered address (a HDB flat unit) to personally deliver the Notice to her. According to SI Azhar, the Accused closed the door upon seeing him. In the circumstances, he decided to paste the Notice on her door. Finally, SI Azhar caused the Notice to be delivered to the Accused’s registered address via registered post. The Notice was delivered on 12 August 2022: exhibit P16.

The Accused did not attend at the police station on 10 August 2022. The following events occurred on that day: At 2.38 am, the Accused sent an email to SI Azhar with a copy of the Notice attached: exhibit P2. In that email, the Accused referred to the Notice and stated the following: I do not understand the offer to be investigated, nor do I agree to be investigated since the case has been over a year with no reason nor logic to follow up. There is clearly no victim and no summons to stand trial from Court Order Your mention of the power conferred upon you under CPC rules and regulations is an agreement to act as an agent of State to contract. … As I will reiterate once more, I have no intention to contract with you nor any organ of State.

I will also state here clearly that I do not wish to receive any more requests to contract from you nor any other representatives acting on behalf of the Central Police Division, SPF, etc. …

[emphasis added]

After the Accused had failed to attend at the police station at 11.00 am, SI Azhar sent the following SMS message to her at 1.54 pm, “Hi, can you give me a call pls”: exhibit P8. The Accused did not respond to SI Azhar. Instead, she caused the Notice that was sent to her via registered post to be returned to the Police with the following words on the envelope: “Return to Sender, No such person” (exhibit P4). The Police received these documents on 12 August 2022. Charge 6 – Failure to attend at police station on 31 August 2022

Given that the Accused had failed to obey the Notice, the Police applied to court under s 21(2) of the CPC for a warrant to order her attendance (“WOA”) at the police station. District Judge Chee Min Ping (“DJ Chee”) granted the application on 18 August 2022. The WOA ordered the Accused to attend at the police station on 31 August 2022 at 11.00 am: exhibit P5.

It is not disputed that the Accused knew about the WOA. First, on 19 August 2022, SI Azhar and Inspector Mohamed Raffiq Mohd Ishak (“Insp Raffiq”) had visited the Accused’s flat unit to personally delivered the WOA to her. (This event is recorded on SI Azhar’s body worn camera (“BWC”): exhibit P11.) Second, on 23 August 2022, the WOA was delivered by registered post to the Accused’s registered address: exhibit P16.

At the outset, the Accused had clearly expressed her decision to disobey the WOA. This is evident from the...

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