Public Prosecutor v Lim Daryl

CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)
JudgeChong Kah Wei
Judgment Date10 July 2003
Neutral Citation[2003] SGMC 26
Citation[2003] SGMC 26
Published date01 October 2003
Plaintiff CounselInspector Ting Nge Kong (Police Prosecutor)
Defendant CounselIrving Choh (Rajah & Tann)

1 On 13 May 2003, the accused, Daryl Lim (“Lim”) pleaded guilty before me to one charge of having possession of obscene films for the purpose of distribution under section 29(3)(b) of the Films Act, Cap. 107, one charge of carrying on a business of distributing films without a licence under section 6(2) read with section 6(1)(a) of the Films Act and one charge of giving a false statement to a public servant under section 182 of the Penal Code, Cap. 224.

2 The amended third charge (MAC 1690/2003) (marked “P7”) stated that on 7 February 2003 at about 2.30pm, at Parklane Shopping Centre #01-15, Singapore, Lim together with one Leong Kum Weng (“Leong”) and one Moey Han Zhao (“Moey”) and in the furtherance of the common intention of all of them, did have in his possession for the purpose of distribution, three digital video discs (“DVDs”) containing three films and 1,825 video compact discs (“VCDs”) containing 1,824 films which were obscene, knowing the films to be obscene, and Lim had thereby committed an offence punishable under section 29(3)(b) of the Films Act, Cap 107 read with section 34 of the Penal Code, Cap 224.

3 The fourth charge (MAC 1691/2003) (marked “P8”) stated that on the same day, 7 February 2003 at about 2.30pm, at Parklane Shopping Centre #01-15, Singapore, Lim together with Leong and Moey and in the furtherance of the common intention of all of them, did carry on a business of distributing films without a valid licence in contravention of section 6(1)(a) of the Films Act, Cap 107, and Lim had thereby committed an offence punishable under section 6(2) of the Films Act, Cap 107 read with section 34 of the Penal Code, Cap 224.

4 The fifth charge (MAC 1692/2003) (marked “P9”) stated that on 7 February 2003 at or about 3.00pm, at Tanglin Police Division Headquarters, No 21 Kampong Java Road, Singapore, Lim did give to a public servant, one Staff Sergeant Lee Seow Chye (“SSgt Lee”) of the Singapore Police Force, information orally to the effect that he was Daniel Lewis Lim, a male born in the year of 1977, staying at Block 199 Toa Payoh North #09-1017, which information he knew to be false, knowing it to be likely that he would thereby cause SSgt Lee to use his lawful power to do an act, to wit, to charge the said Daniel Lewis Lim for an offence and which SSgt Lee would not have done if the true facts respecting which information was given were known to him, and Lim had thereby committed an offence punishable under section 182 of the Penal Code, Cap 224.

5 The prescribed punishment was explained to Lim, who understood the nature and consequences of his plea.

Statement of facts

6 Lim admitted without qualification to the amended Statement of Facts (marked “P10”).

Facts surrounding the amended third charge and fourth charge

7 On 7 February 2003 at around 2.30pm, SSgt Lee Seow Chye (“SSgt Lee”) from the Crime Control Unit of Tanglin Police Division Headquarters arrived at a shop named “Sonic Gamer” at unit #01-15 at Parklane Shopping Centre together with other police officers and officers from the Board of Film Censors. SSgt Lee saw VCDs and DVDs being displayed on racks for the purpose of sale, and these VCDs and DVDs were believed to be uncensored and/or obscene.

8 Lim, Moey and Leong were manning the shop. SSgt Lee witnessed Leong collecting money and packing VCDs and DVDs for customers. Lim and Moey were seen recommending VCDs and DVDs to customers. At around 2.50pm, SSgt Lee approached Lim and asked him for the price of a DVD. Lim replied saying that the price was $30.00 per DVD, and offered SSgt Lee a discount of $5.00.

9 SSgt Lee informed his colleagues, and at about 3.00pm, they went into the shop, identified themselves as police officers and placed Lim, Moey and Leong under arrest. A search was conducted, and the following items were seized.

(a) 2,730 jackets of VCDs believed to be uncensored or obscene
(b) 681 jackets of DVDs believed to be uncensored or obscene
(c) One sales record with one ballpoint pen
(d) Some black plastic bags
(e) One “Citizen” brand calculator
(f) One “Sharp” cash register
(g) Cash amounting to $370.

10 The VCDs and DVDs seized as case exhibits were brought to the Board of Film Censors for examination. The Board of Film Censors issued a report on 17 February 2003 stating that:

(a) Three of the DVDs contained three films that were obscene
(b) 714 of the DVDs contained 670 films that were uncensored and uncertificated
(c) 1,826 inlays were obscene
(d) 1,825 of the VCDs contained 1,824 films that were obscene
(e) 1,570 of the VCDs contained 906 films that were uncensored and uncertificated.
(f) Lim, Moey and Leong all did not have a valid licence to distribute films

Facts surrounding the fifth charge

11 Investigations revealed that when Lim was arrested at around 3.00pm at Parklane Shopping Centre, Lim gave his personal particulars to SSgt Lee as “Daniel Lewis Lim”, a male born in the year of 1977, and residing at Block 199 Toa Payoh North #09-1017. The particulars were documented in the arrest report.

12 After a live identification was performed on him at Tanglin Police Division Headquarters, it was discovered that the information was false. Further investigations revealed that “Daniel Lewis Lim” was Lim’s brother who was residing at the same address.

Charges taken into consideration

13 Lim also admitted to the amended first charge (MAC 894 of 2003) (marked “P5A”) and the second charge (MAC 1689 of 2003) (marked “P6”), and consented to have them taken into consideration for purposes of sentencing.

14 The amended first charge stated that on the same day, 7 February 2003 at about 2.30pm, at Parklane Shopping Centre #01-15, Singapore, Lim together with Leong and Moey and in the furtherance of the common intention of all of them, did publicly exhibit 1,826 obscene inlays with obscene pictures, and Lim had thereby committed an offence punishable under section 292(a) read with section 34 of the Penal Code, Cap 224.

15 The second charge stated that on the same day, 7 February 2003 at about 2.30pm, at Parklane Shopping Centre #01-15, Singapore, Lim together with Leong and Moey and in the furtherance of the common intention of all of them, did attempt to distribute 714 DVDs containing 670 films and 1,570 VCDs containing 906 films, without a valid certificate approving the exhibition of the said films, and Lim had thereby committed an offence under section 21(1)(b) and punishable under section 21(1)(ii) of the Films Act, Cap 107 read with section 34 and section 511 of the Penal Code, Cap 224.

Antecedents

16 Lim was 27 years of age. He admitted to three previous sets of convictions, as set out in the antecedent report tendered (marked “P11”).

17 On 22 February 1994, Lim was convicted under section 170 read with section 34 of the Penal Code, Cap 224, for impersonating a public servant, and sentenced to a fine of $2,000.

18 On 10 December 1999, Lim was convicted of seven charges for similar Films Act offences, with three other charges taken into consideration for the purpose of sentence. According to the grounds of decision by the trial judge (Daryl Lim v Public Prosecutor, MA 337/1999), these ten charges were in respect of three different transactions carried out on 19 November 1998, 24 June 1999 and 4 August 1999. Lim was sentenced to an aggregate sentence of nineteen months’ imprisonment.

19 On 3 July 2002, Lim was convicted of four charges for similar Films Act offences, and sentenced to an aggregate of twenty months’ imprisonment.

Mitigation

20 In the written mitigation submitted (marked “D2”), and in the additional points in mitigation made orally by the Defence Counsel, Mr Irving Choh, the following points were highlighted:

(a) Lim had been a victim of circumstances and had committed his offences as a result of being used and led astray by improper influences.

(b) Lim was coaxed by a friend to do him a favour by participating as an assistant at the shop concerned. Although Lim now realised that this was extremely foolish, at that point in time, Lim’s thoughts were only to be loyal to his friend who had asked for the favour, and Lim also needed to earn some money for the household expenses.

(c) Lim suffered from a low IQ and only had a primary six education.

(d) Lim was the sole breadwinner of his family that comprised his aged mother and two other brothers. His father had passed away. He was a loving son and brother. Lim had to look after his aged mother who suffered from multiple illnesses and was also mentally unwell. Lim’s younger brother (Daniel Lewis Lim) was a drug addict while his elder...

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