Public Prosecutor v Ng Shao Shao Justine

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeBrenda Tan
Judgment Date22 January 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] SGDC 21
Citation[2001] SGDC 21
Published date19 September 2003


Grounds of Decision

The accused claimed trial to an amended charge of attempted theft under section 379 read with section 511 of the Penal Code. At the end of the 1-day trial, I acquitted him of the charge. The prosecution being dissatisfied with my decision has appealed against the acquittal.

The Charge

2. I set out below the amended charge that the accused faced.

DAC 22163/2000 Exhibit P1


Ng Shao Siang Justine, Male/26 years old

NRIC No: S 7323565J

are charged that you, on the 10th day of June 2000 at about 6.30 pm, at Paris Ris West Plaza, Singapore, did attempt to commit theft of one Nokia 3210 Handphone valued at more than $300/-, in the possession of one Yeo Swee Lan and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 379 read with Section 511 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.

The Prosecutions Case

3. The prosecutions case was that on 10 June 2000 at about 6.30 pm at Pasir Ris West Plaza, the accused attempted to steal a handphone belonging to one Yeo Swee Lan (PW1). It was not disputed that the accused came into possession of PW1s handphone. The main contention of the defence was that the accused did not have the intention to attempt to commit theft.

4. The prosecution called a total of 3 witnesses to prove its case. The material evidence as adduced from the witnesses was as follows. PW1 testified that she was a real estate agent with ERA Properties ("ERA"). On 10 June 2000, she was on duty at an exhibition held by ERA at Pasir Ris West Plaza. Some panels were put up at the exhibition and the exhibition staff occupied a table that was located near the panels. The panels and table could be seen in the photographs marked P2 and P3.

5. Sometime between 5 to 6 pm, one Muhabob Hussin Bin Anip (PW2), who was a cleaner supervisor at the Plaza, approached PW1 with some queries relating to the real estate industry. They stood about 15 feet away from the table as they engaged in their conversation. In relation to exhibit P2, they were standing at a spot on the right which was outside the photograph. PW1 had her back towards the table while PW2 was facing the table. At that time, PW1 was the only staff who was present at the site.

6. In the midst of their discussion, PW2 alerted PW1 that there was someone standing next to the table and he asked PW1 if the man was her colleague. When PW1 turned around, she saw the accused whose back was facing her standing next to the table at the position marked "A" in exhibit P2. PW1 had attached her handphone which was a Nokia 3210 on to a clipboard which she had left on the table. She had also clipped some name cards on the clipboard and they were wedged below the handphone.

7. As PW1 walked towards the table, she saw that the accused was holding the clipboard in his left hand in a vertical position. At the same time, PW1 saw that the accused had lifted her handphone from the clipboard and was holding it in his right hand. As PW1 had fastened her handphone to the clipboard in an unusual manner, despite the accuseds action, her handphone remained attached to the clipboard. Her name cards, however, became dislodged as a result and they were scattered on to the floor and chair.

8. PW1 approached the accused and asked him what he was doing. The accused appeared frightened and said "Nothing, nothing. I thought you were selling candles here." PW1 questioned the accused as to whether her clipboard or handphone resembled a candle or if it looked as if she was selling candles there. She also wanted to know why the accused was taking her handphone. She told him that these were her personal belongings and he should not be holding on to them. The accused asked her not to misunderstand him and said that he had a handphone too so there was no reason for him to take hers. The exchange between the accused and PW1 continued and 2 security guards who noticed the commotion approached them. One of them then called the police.

9. PW1 told the court that after the police had been summoned, the accused tried to leave the scene but the security guards prevented him from doing so. Subsequently the police...

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