Public Prosecutor v Peter Tham Wing Fai

JudgeChua F A J
Judgment Date10 May 1988
Neutral Citation[1988] SGHC 36
Citation[1988] SGHC 36
Defendant CounselDenis Tan (Toh Tan & Partners)
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselJohn Koh and Eleanor Wong (Deputy Public Prosecutor)
Date05 April 1989
Docket NumberMagistrate's Appeal No 335 of 1986,Magistrate Appeal No 324 of 1988,Magistrate's Appeal No 345 of 1986
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Subject MatterConstitution of the Republic of Singapore art 11(1),Sentencing powers of court,Fundamental liberties,Whether in violation of Constitution,Protection against retrospective criminal laws,District judge's enhanced powers of sentencing,Whether substantive or procedural change in the law,ss 11(3)(a), (b), 17 & 17A Amendments to Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 113, 1970 Ed),Sentencing,Whether substantive change in the law,Constitutional Law,District judge's powers of sentencing,Criminal Procedure and Sentencing

Cur Adv Vult

Peter Tham Wing Fai (the respondent) was convicted and sentenced on 36 charges of forging documents which purported to be valuable securities, being offences punishable under s 467 of the Penal Code (Cap 103, 1970 Ed). He was sentenced to four years` imprisonment on each of the 36 charges, to run concurrently except sentences in two of the charges to be served consecutively. Effectively, the respondent has to serve a total of eight years` imprisonment.

Section 467 of the Penal Code provides for a punishment of either life imprisonment, or ten years` imprisonment and, in addition, a fine.

The trial judge said in his grounds of decision (at p 218 of the record):

In my view, as regards sentence, the relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 113), ie the provisions as they stood prior to 1 March 1986 and 31 August 1984, respectively, apply with regard to the present offences.

Prior to 1 March 1986, the district court`s sentencing powers were governed by s 11(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 113, 1970 Ed) and s 11(3)(a) imposed a limit of five years` imprisonment and s 11(3)(b) imposed a limit of $5,000 fine that a district court could impose.

Section 11(3)(a) and (b) were amended by the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Act (No 5 of 1986) (which came into force on 1 March 1986) whereby the district court`s sentencing powers were increased to a maximum of seven years` imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.

The powers of the district court to order consecutive sentences were, prior to 1984, governed by s 17 of the Criminal Procedure Code which is still in force.
Section 17 provides the court with a discretion to order consecutive sentences in cases where a person is convicted at one trial of any two or more distinct offences. However, in 1984, by the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment No 2) (Act No 24 of 1984) (which came into force on 31 August 1984), a new s 17A was enacted which provides that where a person is convicted of and sentenced to imprisonment for at least three distinct offences at one trial, the court shall order the sentences for at least two of those offences to run consecutively.

The Public Prosecutor now appeals against the decision of the trial judge that his sentencing powers were governed by the law prior to the amendment in 1984 and 1986.

At the hearing of the appeal, the deputy public prosecutor informs the court that the Public Prosecutor does not now appeal against the

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5 cases
  • Xia Qin Lai v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 2 September 1999
    ... ... However, it was the remarks of FA Chua J in Tham Wing Fai Peter v PP [1988] SLR 424 at p 436 which I found most instructive. His Honour ... ...
  • Tay Boon Sien v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 17 April 1998
    ... ... ] 1 SLR (R) 261; [1994] 1 SLR 825 (refd) Malu Arjun (1899) 1 Bom LR 142 (distd) Tham Wing Fai Peter v PP [1988] 1 SLR (R) 349; [1988] SLR 424 (folld) Wee Harry Lee v PP ... ...
  • Lim Kim Seng and Another v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 1 February 1992
    ... ... A plea of guilty is usually given credit. In Peter Tham Wing Fai v PP [1989] 2 MLJ 404 the court said that the discount for a plea of guilty ... ...
  • Ng Geok Eng v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 21 December 2006
    ... ... 1998 (refd) Teo Kian Leong v PP [2001] 3 SLR (R) 767; [2002] 1 SLR 147 (refd) Tham Wing Fai Peter v PP [1989] 1 SLR (R) 400; [1989] SLR 448 (refd) UOB Venture Investments Ltd ... ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2002, December 2002
    • 1 December 2002
    ...Judgment of Magnus SDJ (PS 3812/2000, PS 3813/2000, PS 3814/2000 & PS 3815/2000). 21 [1986] SLR 401. 22 [1986] SLR 401 at 406. 23 [1988] SLR 421. 24 [1992] 1 SLR 720. 25 [1980—1] SLR 293 (HC): PP v Choudhury[1980—81] SLR 146 (CA). 26 [1972—74] SLR 429. 27 Unreported: DAC 32241—2/2000; DAC 3......

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