Public Prosecutor v Mohamed Zuhairi Bin Jafar

JudgeEric Tin Keng Seng
Judgment Date28 June 2004
Neutral Citation[2004] SGDC 151
CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
Published date08 July 2004
Plaintiff CounselAccused in person
Defendant CounselDavid Chew Siong Tai (Attorney-General's Chambers)
Citation[2004] SGDC 151

28 June 2004

District Judge Eric Tin:

1 This is an appeal against conviction and sentence by Mohamed Zuhairi Bin Jaafar (Zuhairi).

2 Zuhairi had claimed trial to 3 charges: trafficking in 9.91 grams of diamorphine (DAC 60778/03 marked P1), joint possession of 0.58 grams of diamorphine (DAC 56100/03 marked P2), and joint possession of a utensil used in connection with diamorphine consumption (DAC 1354/04 marked P3). After a 3-day trial, I convicted him on all 3 charges. He then pleaded guilty to a stood down charge of unlawful consumption of morphine (DAC 56099/03 marked P39). I sentenced him to a total of 24 years’ imprisonment and 15 strokes for all these offences. I now give my reasons.

Prosecution’s Case

3 The prosecution called only 11 witnesses from their list of 20, and an additional witness Mohd Pavira Bin Osman, to give evidence in court. The attendance of the remaining 9 witnesses, whose evidence was largely formal, was dispensed with after Zuhairi confirmed that he had no questions for them. Zuhairi also confirmed receipt of 12 prosecution witnesses’ conditioned statements which were forwarded to him on 19 February 2004 (letter marked P4).

Evidence of arresting officers

4 Inspector William Tan (PW2), Staff Sergeant Ngo Hing Wong (PW3), Sergeant Mohamed Faizal Bin Abdul Latiff (PW4), Staff Sergeant David Ng (PW5) and Sergeant Christopher Koh (PW6), all from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), were the arresting officers. Their evidence was led by way of conditioned statements (marked PS3 to PS7 respectively).

5 All of them confirmed that an entrapment operation was mounted on 26 September 2003. A Staff Sergeant Tony Ng Tze Chiang (PW10) would be an undercover to purchase 2 sets of heroin (total of 20 packets) from a male Malay.

6 At about 4.25 pm, the party of CNB officers took up their respective positions in the vicinity of Blk 502 Woodlands Drive 14. At about 4.30 pm, PW2, PW3, PW4 and PW5 saw PW10 with a male Malay on a pedestrian walkway along Woodlands Drive 14 near Blk 502. On PW10’s signal, they moved in and arrested the male Malay who was ascertained to be Muhammad Syarin Bin Abdul Manan (PW9, Syarin). The following items were found on him:

a. One grey coloured “Tele-World Shop” plastic bag (marked P23) which carried 2 brown envelopes (marked P24 and P25) each containing 10 packets of granular substance (marked P26 and P27) (as shown in photographs P1P to P3P);

b. One Nokia handphone with number 91883471 (marked P28); and

c. One TeleStation receipt with a StarHub application form for the said handphone (collectively marked P29).

7 PW10 then informed PW2 of his suspicion that Syarin’s accomplice could be in the vicinity. Syarin was brought to the carpark of Blk 505A Woodlands Drive 14 for questioning. According to PW2, Syarin admitted that another Malay, dressed in blue, handed him the drugs which were to be handed over to PW10. Syarin also said that this person and a female Malay dressed in pink were still waiting for him at Blk 520 Woodlands Drive 14. On hearing this, PW2 instructed PW5 to proceed to the said location.

8 At about 4.40 pm, PW5 and his team spotted a Malay couple of the said description walking between Blk 518 and Blk 520 of Woodlands Drive 14 (the locality map of the area was marked P30). They arrested this couple and ascertained them to be Zuhairi and Zarena Bte Ahmad Jazuli (PW7, Zarena). A Siemens handphone was seized from Zuhairi (marked P31).

9 Syarin was subsequently brought to the multi-storey carpark of Blk 505A Woodlands Drive 14. Between 5 pm to 5.25 pm, with PW4 as the Malay interpreter, PW3 recorded the following oral statement from Syarin (as reproduced in PS4) in a CNB car:

“Q1: What is the grey colour plastic bag you carry contain?

A1: Got some stuff

Q2: What do you mean by got some stuff?

A2: Drug

Q3: Who you supposed to give the drug to?

A3: Z’s friend call ‘Ah Leong’

Q4: Did Z ask you to pass the drug to ‘Ah Leong’?

A4: Yes

Q5: How much drug did Z ask you to pass to ‘Ah Leong’

A5: I don’t know.”

10 PW3 then showed Syarin the identity cards of Zuhairi and Zarena, and continued with the statement recording:

“Q6: Is this the male person in the identity card called Z

A6: Yes

Q7: Is he the one who ask you to pass the drug to ‘Ah Leong’?

A7: Yes

Q8: How much you supposed to collect from ‘Ah Leong’ when you hand over the drug to ‘Ah Leong’?

A8: about $8,000/- dollars

Q9: Do you keep the $8000/-?

A9: No, give it to Z

Q10: Did Z pay you for the help?

A10: He didn’t say anything.”

11 PW3 and PW4 confirmed that the above oral statement was read back and interpreted to Syarin, who was invited to amend or alter the same. According to PW3, Syarin added one more sentence “Z asked for my help”. Syarin then signed on every page of this statement, and was brought to his residence for a search.

12 At about 5.10 pm, PW2 and some CNB officers brought Zarena to her flat at Blk 26 Sin Ming Drive, #04-124 (the premises). They arrived there at 5.40 pm for a search. In the hall, PW2 found an ice-cream box (marked P10) containing various items (as shown in photographs P10P to P12P). The following items were pertinent for this case:

a. 3 straws of powdery substance (collectively marked P11);

b. One Vanilla Coke bottle cap stained with substance (marked P12);

c. 3 syringes and 6 disposable lighters (collectively marked P13);

d. 6 empty straws; and

e. One rolled-up S$2 note.

13 PW6 recovered a “Telly Tubby” red stuffed toy with a slit open neck (marked P14) from the kitchen. Reaching within the toy from the slit, he found amidst the cotton stuffing a plastic bag (marked P15) containing the following items (as shown in photographs P4P to P9P):

a. One black plastic bag (marked P16);

b. One brown envelope (marked P17);

c. One packet of granular substance (marked P18);

d. One Afsa digital weighing scale (marked P19); and

e. One polythene bag containing numerous empty packets.

14 PW6 then handed over these exhibits to PW2. According to PW2, when Zarena was asked who owned the drugs, she replied that they belonged to Zuhairi. PW2 also recovered Zuhairi’s clothing (collectively marked P21) from a cupboard and his urine reporting card (marked P22) from the top of a refrigerator at the premises.

15 PW2, PW3, and PW5 confirmed that they handed all the seized exhibits to the investigating officer on the same day.

Evidence of investigating officer

16 Assistant Superintendent Geoffrey Soh (PW1) was the investigating officer who gave evidence by way of conditioned statement (marked PS1). He confirmed that on 26 September 2003, the seized exhibits were handed to him by the arresting officers and he directed an officer to photograph them (photographs marked P1P to P12P). On 29 September 2003, he sent the weighed and sealed drug exhibits to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for analysis.

Evidence of HSA analyst

17 Dr Saw Chwee Guan of the Centre for Forensic Science, HSA, stated in his conditioned statement (marked PS2) that on 29 September 2003, he received 20 packets of granular substance, 3 straws of powdery substance, a packet of granular substance, and a Vanilla Coke bottle cap from PW1 for analysis. On 11 November 2003, he prepared 4 certificates (marked P5 to P9) which confirmed that:

a. 10 packets of granular substance contained not less than 4.97 grams of diamorphine;

b. 10 packets of granular substance contained not less than 4.94 grams of diamorphine;

c. 2 straws of powdery substance contained 0.08 gram of diamorphine, while 1 straw contained 0.07 gram of buprenophine;

d. One packet of granular substance contained 0.50 gram of diamorphine; and

e. The Vanilla Coke bottle cap was stained with diamorphine.

Evidence of Zarena

18 Zarena was the accomplice named in the 2 joint possession charges P2 and P3. On 29 January 2004, she had pleaded guilty to a charge similar to P2 and an unrelated charge of unlawful morphine consumption. A charge similar to P3 was taken into consideration. She was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment. The relevant record of proceedings for her case was placed before me (marked P32). When she gave evidence in this trial, she was serving sentence.

19 Zarena confirmed that the premises was in her husband’s and her name. They were married with a young daughter. Her husband was arrested on 5 June 2003 for another case of heroin trafficking and had not returned home since. Her daughter was then left in her mother’s care. She confirmed that only she had the premises’ keys. She knew Zuhairi as a friend for about 2 weeks before their arrest. She confirmed that he stayed at the premises with her only for a few days, and that he was not given a copy of the keys. She identified the clothing and the urine reporting card seized from the premises to be Zuhairi’s.

20 Zarena said she and Zuhairi would consume heroin in the premises. Zuhairi would provide the heroin. She did not know from where he got his supply. She had seen Zuhairi smoked heroin with the aid of the Vanila Coke bottle cap and demonstrated how he used it.

21 On 26 September 2003, she left the premises with Zuhairi, who asked her to follow him to Woodlands as he wanted to settle something with his friend. They first took a bus to Yishun Interchange. At a shopping centre in Yishun, they met Syarin who was alone. She could not recall if Syarin was carrying anything. The 3 of them then took a taxi to Woodlands Drive. In the taxi, she heard casual conversation between Zuhairi and Syarin.

22 After they alighted, Zuhairi and Syarin went to one side of a block of flats and talked for some minutes while she waited at the other side. Zuhairi then came to her and they both sat at a playground nearby the block. Zuhairi did not tell her what he and Syarin were doing, only that he was waiting for a friend unknown to her. He said that his friend was late and asked her to walk around the block. Together, they both walked around there for about half an hour to 45 minutes. Upon arriving at one of the shelters,...

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