Public Prosecutor v Muhammad Shahidin bin Sahurdin

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeMarvin Bay
Judgment Date21 May 2019
Neutral Citation[2019] SGDC 101
Citation[2019] SGDC 101
Docket NumberDAC-930475-2016, MAGISTRATE'S APPEAL NO. 9039/2019/01
Published date02 October 2019
Plaintiff CounselDeputy Public Prosecutor Theong Li Han
Defendant CounselJayakumar Naidu (Jay Law Corporation)
Hearing Date18 February 2019,11 April 2018,07 February 2019,13 April 2018,18 September 2018,19 November 2018,21 November 2017,22 November 2017,12 April 2018,14 February 2019,24 November 2017,20 November 2017
District Judge Marvin Bay:

This are my grounds setting out the basis for the conviction of Mr Muhammad Shahidin Bin Sahurdin.

The charge

Mr Shahidin has claimed trial to the following charge1 of an offence under section 5(1)(a) read with section 5(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185, 2008 Rev Ed) and Section 34 of the Penal Code (Cap 224, 2008 Rev Ed), punishable under s 33(1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185, 2008 Rev Ed).

… that (he), on 2 August 2016 at about 6.15 p.m., at Blk 402, Hougang Avenue 10, Singapore 530402, together with one Muhammad Zulkifli Bin Syed Ali, in furtherance of the common intention of both of you, did traffic in a Class A Controlled Drug listed in the First Schedule to the Misuse of Drugs Act…, to wit, by having in your possession for the purpose of trafficking, one (01) packet containing not less than 0.50 gram of crystalline substance which was pulverized and homogenized into a powdery substance which was analysed and found to contain not less than 0.33 gram of methamphetamine…

Plainly stated, Mr Shahidin is charged with having on 2 August 2016 at about 6.15 p.m., at Blk 402, Hougang Avenue 10, together with one Muhammad Zulkifli Bin Syed Ali, acting on their common intention to traffic in methamphetamine, by having in possession, for the purpose of trafficking, one packet which was found, upon analysis to contain not less than 0.33 gram of methamphetamine, better known in its street name of ‘Ice’. Mr Shahidin had initially faced a joint trial with Mr Zulkifli, but the latter had fled prior to the first day of trial2. Mr Shahidin, the remaining accused person, had confirmed his intent to claim trial, and the trial had thus proceeded against the charge he faced. Mr Zulkifli was subsequently arrested, and produced in Court 26 on 30 December 2017.

The offence of trafficking in 0.33g of methamphetamine is punishable with a minimum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and 5 strokes of the cane.

The Prosecution’s case was that Mr Shahidin had acted in concert with Mr Zulkifli to supply drugs to a certain Mr Mohamad Fadli Bin Abubakar (PW4), and had been on the way with Mr Zulkifli to deliver the packet of Ice to Mr Fadli, when he was arrested in the evening of 2 August 2016. This delivery was made in a situation where, apparently unbeknownst to Mr Shahidin, Mr Fadli had himself been earlier arrested, and had been co-opted by CNB to bring in his drug supplier. It was a major point of the defence case that the packet of Ice had been found on the person of Mr Zulkifli, and not the accused; Mr Shahidin.

Agreed facts

The areas of dispute in this case have been greatly reduced by the prosecution and defence stipulating certain agreed facts, and formalising this agreement by a document setting out an agreed statement of facts3. Per this document, the salient settled facts4 are as follows: On 2 August 2016, at or about 5.45 p.m., acting on information received, ASP Lim Peng Chye ("ASP Lim") led a party of officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau …to the vicinity of Blk 402 to look out for Shahidin. Sgt Ibrahim was tasked to observe unit #XXX of Blk 402 Hougang Ave 10 ("the unit"). At or about 6.15 p.m., Sgt Ibrahim informed the other CNB officers over radio that he has just seen two male subjects leave the unit. ASP Lim then instructed the rest of the CNB officers to proceed to the ground floor lift landing of Blk 402 to arrest the said two male subjects. A short while later, Shahidin and Zulkifli came out of one of the lifts and were placed under arrest at the ground floor lift lobby. Both Shahidin and Zulkifli were then brought to the void deck of Blk 402, where each of them were searched. Cpl Laila conducted the search on Shahidin. Nothing incriminating was found on Shahidin, Sgt Zakaria conducted the search on Zulkifli. Sgt Zakaria recovered the following items from a red plastic bag that Zulkifli was carrying 5: One Bluetooth headset box6, containing one red plastic bag7 (later marked as) containing one green "Pall Mall" cigarette box8 containing one packet of crystalline substance.9

Later on the same day, at the CNB office of Tanglin Police Division Headquarters, Sgt Sam Toh seized Shahidiri's personal items, which includes one blue Samsung phone10

(The) packet containing not less than 0.50 gram of crystalline substance which was pulverised and homogenised into a powdery substance, which was analysed and found to contain not less than 0.33 gram of methamphetamine. (The DNA Profiling Laboratory) report states that Shahidin's DNA was found on the interior of … (the) Bluetooth headset box) as well as the exterior of (the)… green "Pall Mall" cigarette box. Investigations revealed that Shahidin's blue Samsung phone marked as "SHAH-I" corresponded to the number XXX. Evidence of PW1; W/SSG Nurfarhanah Osman, and PW2; SSG Eugene Tong Kecheng

The stipulation on the above set of agreed facts, along with Mr Shahidin’s counsel’s indication that he would not be contesting the voluntariness of his long statement11, has made it unnecessary to set out the evidence of the first two prosecution witnesses PW1 W/SSG Nurfarhanah Osman and PW2 SSG Eugene Tong Kecheng in any great detail, as they had been largely involved in undisputed procedural aspects as the arrest of the accused, and the recording of statements P-912 and P10, respectively from Mr Shahidin.

W/SSG Nurfarhanah had been part of the arresting party, and indicated that she had been briefed to proceed to Block 402 Hougang Avenue 10 ‘to look out for a suspected trafficker by the name of Din’.13 The team was told that ‘Din’s’ full name was Mohammad Shahidin Bin Sahurdin14. At the scene, W/SSG Nurfarhanah had received information that there were two suspects leaving a unit at level 7. The officers deployed around the void deck of Block 402 Hougang Avenue 10 had waited for the two suspects to emerge from the lift before effecting arrest. Both were searched by CNB officers at different sites, and one of the officer recovered a packet of drug in a cigarette box. PW1 learnt that the person found with the drugs was Mr Zulkifli, and not the accused; Mr Shahidin. W/SSG Nurfahanah had recorded a contemporaneous statement from Mr Shahidin, with the salient portions set out15. Who is this? (Mr Fadli’s image shown to accused) He is Amad, he is my friend’s brother and I known him since 2004. What is the purpose of him coming to Hougang Avenue 10 Blk 402? Amad came down to see me. Why did Amad want to see you? He want to take “barang” from my friend “Beng” (Beng was ascertained to be Mr Zulkifli). What “barang” “Barang” refers to 0.5g of “Ice”. Amad wanted 0.5 g of Ice from “Beng”. What is this (Mr Shahidin is shown seized items) This is the “Ice” that I helped Amad order from “Beng”. What is it for? It is for Amad. How much does Amad give to you? I quoted him 0.5g at $70-80. Who did you order the packet of “Ice” from? I ordered it from “Beng” for Amad. How many times have you helped Amad order “Ice” through “Beng”? I helped Amad two times to order “Ice” from “Beng”. What do you get in return for helping Amad to order “Ice’? Beng” would pay me with a pack of cigarettes.

[Emphasis added]

Evidence of PW3; CNB FORT officer Koh Kok Sim

Forensics Specialist Koh Soon Sim from the CNB Forensics Response Team (FORT) gave evidence that he had undertaken a data extraction exercise of Mr Shahidin’s Samsung mobile device, and had produced a report which was admitted into the proceedings16 Mr Koh indicated that the mobile phone forensic processing system had extracted information relating to calls, and WhatsApp messages that Mr Shahidin’s Sumsung phone had logged on 2 of August 2016. Among the calls made had been WhatsApp calls to a phone number XXX, to an individual listed in the call records as Amad (Jenggo), which was the number of a certain Mohamad Fadli Bin Abubakar (PW4).

The FORT report of calls and messages logged in Mr Shahidin’s Samsung, while incomplete as a result of limitations in the data extraction process17, were nevertheless, in these proceedings, an essential means to counter-check against another set of records documenting calls and messages between Mr Fadli, and the person using Mr Shahidin’s mobile device, after Mr Fadli’s arrest and co-option to work with a CNB officer; Sgt Norjansher Shah Bin Misnan (PW5) to bring in his drug supplier.

Evidence of PW4; Mohamad Fadli Bin Abubakar

The prosecution’s principal witness at trial was Mohamad Fadli Bin Abubakar. Mr Fadli testified that Mr Shahidin, who was known to Mr Fadli as “Din”, was his only Ice supplier. It is pertinent to note that Fadli was less than keen to undertake the role of being a prosecution witness in these proceedings, and only attended after a warrant having been taken against him18. Once on the stand however, Mr Fadli was forthright in giving a candid account of his relationship and dealings with Mr Shahidin. Mr Fadli informed the court that he had bought Ice from Mr Shahidin on at least two previous occasions. On 2 August 2016, Mr Fadli had made his final order of Ice with Mr Shahidin, upon instructions by CNB officers, after his earlier arrest. In this follow-up operation, Mr Shahidin and Mr Zulkifli had been arrested.

Background history and prior dealings between Mr Fadli and Mr Shahidin

Mr Fadli, who was the principal factual witness in the prosecution’s case, indicated that he had known Mr Shahidin (or ‘Din’) and that the two men had been acquainted since childhood, having previously played soccer together as they lived near each other.

After he was made aware by friends that Mr Shahidin was selling Ice, Mr Fadli had, in July 2016, begun buying Ice from Mr Shahidin. Mr Fadli revealed that Mr Shahidin’s...

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