Public Prosecutor v Manivanan s/o Vulkanathan

CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)
JudgeGilbert Low Teik Seang
Published date18 November 2003
Plaintiff CounselInspector Sim Ngin Kit
Defendant CounselMr S K Kumar (S K Kumar and Associates)

1 In the course of a trial which had taken four hearing days, and after the prosecution had closed its case, the accused was being cross-examined on his main testimony and a second voir dire was called for to decide the admissibility of his long statement, the accused pleaded guilty to the following amended charge marked as Exhibit P11:

You … are charged that you, on or about the 13th day of April 2003, at or about 9.55 pm along Pan Island Expressway near to Police Academy, Singapore did dishonestly misappropriate certain property to wit:

1) One “Baby G” watch valued at $120/-

2) One pair “Fila” sunglasses in a pouch valued at $200/-

belonging to one Ng Ee Ling, and you have thereby committed an offence under Section 403 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.

2 The statement of facts, marked as Exhibit P12, which the accused admitted to without any qualifications read as:

The complainant cum arresting officer is one Arman Bin Mohd Ali, male/28 yrs old Nric No: S7517883-B. He is a police officer attached to Traffic Police Department.

2 The victim is one Ng Ee Ling, female/27 years old, Nric No: S7532789-G. She is the driver of motorcar SBZ 9727S.

3 The accused is one Manivanan s/o Vulkanathan, male/29 years old Nric No: S7325433-G residing at Blk 706 Cho Chu Kang St 53 #02-100. He is a tow truck driver of Eng Bee Chop Recovery.

4 On 14.4.03 at about 2.43 am, the complainant had lodged a police report for the arrest of accused at Bedok Police Division.

5 On 13.4.03, at about 8.00 pm, the accused was directed by his company, Eng Bee Chop, to Yishun Ave 1 junction Mandai Road to attend a case of minor traffic accident which involved the victim’s vehicle and another motor lorry, GU5237H.

6 At about 8.25 pm, the accused arrived at the scene and was directed by the Traffic Police to tow the victim’s vehicle to Traffic Impound Place at No 417 Airport Road. On his way, the accused then removed the two items i.e. One “Baby G” watch valued at $120/- and One pair “Fila” sunglasses in a pouch valued at $200/- from the said vehicle.

7 Upon his arrival at Traffic Impound Place, the accused handed over the towed vehicle to the Traffic Police without handing over the said two items and left. At about 9.55 pm at Pan Island Expressway near to Police Academy, the accused however dishonestly misappropriated the two items belonging to the victim by throwing away the said two items.

8 The accused admitted that he had dishonestly misappropriated the items by disposing off them, knowing that it would cause wrongful loss to the victim.

3 By way of background, the case started life as a theft case under section 379 of the Penal Code, as seen from the caution statement of the accused which was admitted as Exhibit P9 in the course of the prosecution’s case and at the conclusion of a voir dire. At the start of trial, the charge was amended to one of criminal breach of trust under section 406 of the Penal Code. When the accused pleaded guilty, the charge was amended to one of criminal misappropriation under section 403 of the Penal Code. Notwithstanding the three amendments to the charge, the case of the prosecution against the accused was premised on the same facts as summarised in the statement of facts.

Mitigation

4 The accused had no antecedents and his counsel tendered a written mitigation on his behalf, marked as Exhibit D. It should be noted that the mitigation also dealt with another unrelated charge of disorderly behaviour in MAC 2893 of 2003 which the accused had pleaded guilty before me at the commencement of the trial. As seen from the petition of appeal and as clarified by his counsel, the accused is only appealing against the sentence imposed on the misappropriation charge in MAC 2892 of 2003.

5 The accused is 30 years old and married with one child. He was employed as a tow truck driver with effect from 11 April 2003, earning about $1,500 per month. His wife works as an administrative executive with SPRING Singapore and the combined salary of both of them totalled $2,500 per month. He was an “N” level student. The assignment on 13 April 2003 was his first on the job and being new to the job, he lost his way when conveying the accident vehicle in question to the Traffic Police Impound are at Airport Road. He stopped his tow-truck, went over to the accident vehicle and proceeded to retrieve the street directory from the...

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