Public Prosecutor v Rajendiran a/l Subramaniam

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeSiva Shanmugam
Judgment Date29 March 2016
Neutral Citation[2016] SGDC 69
Citation[2016] SGDC 69
Docket NumberDAC 13199/2014, Magistrate’s Appeal No. 4/2016/01
Published date01 April 2016
Plaintiff CounselDeputy Public Prosecutor: Mr James Low (Attorney-General's Chambers)
Defendant CounselDefence Counsel: Mr S K Kumar
Hearing Date13 August 2015,25 November 2015,23 December 2015,14 August 2015,24 November 2015,27 January 2016,14 January 2016
District Judge Siva Shanmugam:

The accused, a male Malaysian, aged 37 years old, claimed trial to 1 count of trafficking in not less than 14.38g of diamorphine, a Class A controlled drug, an offence under Section 5(1)(a) punishable under Section 33(1), of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Chapter 185, 2008 Revised Edition)

The primary issue at trial was whether there was sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption under Section 18(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act, Cap. 185 (2008 Rev. Ed.) (“MDA”) that the accused knew the nature of the drugs which were in his possession. At the conclusion of the trial, he was found guilty and convicted on the charge. A sentence of 20 years 3 months imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane was imposed. On 2 February 2016, the accused filed a notice of appeal against conviction and sentence.

The following facts were not disputed:


The Accused is Rajendiran A/L Subramaniam (M/37/Malaysian), (DOB 30 January 1978). At the material time, he was employed as a truck driver by S Yong Recycling Pte Ltd, located at Jalan Terusan, Jurong Port Road, Singapore. He earned about SGD$45/- per day. He resides at 12 Jalan Tuan Aminah House No. 76, Johore Bahru 81300, Malaysia, with his wife and 2 sons. The co-accused is Ramlan bin Misrop (M/42/Singaporean), (DOB 17 April 1973) (“Lan”). At the material time, he was unemployed. On 10 March 2014, one Murthi, believed to be an Indian Malaysian, called the Accused and instructed him to collect two plastic bags of jaman from a male Chinese between 12pm and 1pm at Jurong Port Road, Singapore. The Accused was told that the said male Chinese would be driving a white Honda car. The recipient of the jaman would subsequently message the Accused with the address for delivery. The Accused would be paid SGD$200/- for making the delivery. Later that day, during the Accused’s lunch break at about 12.20pm, he rode his bike bearing registration number JMT 6121 to Jurong Port Road. Thereat, the Accused saw a white Honda car at a bus stop. The Accused knocked on the driver’s door and the window of the right rear passenger seat was wound down. There were three male Chinese individuals in the car. The one in the right rear passenger seat passed the Accused one red plastic bag and one black plastic bag. Within the red plastic bag, there was another red plastic bag, which was tied. Inside this tied red plastic bag, there was a black bundle. Within the other black plastic bag, there was another bundle wrapped in black tape. The Accused placed both red and black plastic bags into the front basket of his bike. The said male Chinese instructed the Accused to call one Jegan, who was the Accused’s colleague. Jegan was also the one who provided the Accused with the SIM card to his phone. The Accused then returned to his work site and called Jegan, who instructed him to deliver only one of the black-taped bundles and to keep the other. The Accused kept both plastic bags in the locked rear box of his bike. Later the same day, the Accused received a message from Lan, instructing him to deliver both plastic bags to 62 Sims Drive, Singapore. The Accused transferred both black-taped bundles into one of the red plastic bags and tied the said bag. He then placed this bag into the other red plastic bag, and kept the said items in the front basket of his bike. The Accused rode his bike to 62 Sims Drive and arrived there at about 6.40pm. Thereat, the Accused called Lan, who did not answer the phone. The Accused then called Murthi, informing him that Lan had not arrived. Murthi informed the Accused that he would contact Lan and also instructed the Accused to collect SGD$4,400/- from Lan. The Accused was to count the sum of money before handing over the jaman to Lan. The Accused had to call Murthi again once he had collected the sum of money and handed over the jaman. After about 5 minutes, the Accused call Lan again, who answered the phone this time. Lan had arrived in a van bearing registration number GW 5783L (“the van”). Lan instructed the Accused to proceed to the 5th floor of Blk 62 Sims Drive but the Accused refused and asked Lan to meet him at the 1st floor instead. The Accused then covered the front basket of his bike with his jacket, before walking over to the van. When the Accused reached the van, he was instructed to take a white envelope containing the sum of money between the front seats and the rear area of the van. After taking the envelope, the Accused was asked “barang mana?” (meaning “where is the ‘thing’?”). The Accused answered that he had to count the money first before handing over the jaman. The Accused then proceeded to the staircase landing between the 1st and 2nd floor of Blk 62 Sims Drive. The jaman was still left in the front basket of his bike. Thereat, the Accused counted the money and after ascertaining that it was SGD$4,400/- in total, he kept the envelope in the black waist pouch that he was wearing. The Accused then returned to his bike, which was parked about 100 to 200m away from the van. The Accused took the red plastic bag containing both bundles of jaman from the front basket of his bike and handed it over to Lan, who had remained in the rear area of the van. As he was walking back to his bike, the Accused was intercepted by Central Narcotics Bureau (“CNB”) officers and placed under arrest. Both black-taped bundles were seized from the van, placed in a tamper proof bag and marked D1A1A and D1A2A respectively. Both samples were sent to the Health Sciences Authority (“HSA”) for analysis on 14 March 2014. Subsequently, on 14 May 2014, Tan Sylvia, an analyst with the Analytical Toxicology Laboratory of the HSA, issued 2 Certificates under s. 16 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, Cap. 185 (2008 Rev. Ed.) (“MDA”) bearing Lab Nos. ID-1432-00420-001 and ID-1432-00420-002 respectively. The Certificate bearing Lab No. ID-1432-00420-001 stated that on analysis, D1A1A was found to be one packet containing not less than 226.0g of granular/powdery substance which was analysed and found to contain not less than 7.01g of diamorphine. The Certificate bearing Lab No. ID-1432-00420-002 stated that on analysis, D1A2A was found to be one packet containing not less than 226.1g of granular/powdery substance which was analysed and found to contain not less than 7.37g of diamorphine. D1A1A and D1A2A were therefore found to contain not less than 14.38g of diamorphine in nett weight. Diamorphine is a Class A Controlled Drug listed in the First Schedule to the MDA. The Accused is not authorized under the MDA or the Regulations made thereunder to traffic in a Controlled Drug. Jegan has been established to be Jegan A/L Munusamy. He stopped reporting to work at S Yong Recycling Pte Ltd on 8 March 2014 and has returned to Malaysia. 1 to 2 months prior to the alleged offence, Jegan had asked the Accused if he wanted to make some deliveries for money and informed him that Murthi had the connections for such deliveries. The Accused had previously seen similar black-taped bundles in Jegan’s locker at their work place.” Ancillary hearing

The prosecution sought to rely on the contents of P1, a statement recorded from the accused dated 14 March 2014. The accused challenged the admissibility of P1 on the grounds that it was rendered involuntarily. It was claimed that the Investigating Officer (“IO”) had induced the accused to make P1 by informing him to plead guilty to the charge through his wife and in return, the IO was to reduce the charge and secure a lighter sentence for the Accused. An ancillary hearing followed to determine P1’s admissibility.

The IO PW1 Ranjit Ram Behari denied telling the accused that he should admit to the offence. He also denied calling the accused’s wife with the intention to induce the accused to admit to the offence. He denied assuring the safety of the accused’s family if the accused cooperates and admits to the offence. PW1 Ranjit Ram Behari explained that he merely recorded whatever explanation the accused provided and gave the latter the opportunity to make corrections to his statement.

PW2 Malliga Anandakrishnan, a freelance interpreter, informed the court that she served as an interpreter during the recording of P1. Though she was unable to recall the exact details of the recording process due to the passage of time, she affirmed that there was no threat or inducement adduced on the accused and that the statement was made voluntarily.

The accused informed the court that he was confused when he made P1. He claimed that the IO had told him to admit to bringing in drugs in order to get a light sentence. He then co-operated with the IO.

DW2 Kalairasi Subramaniam was the accused’s wife. She informed the court that she received a call from IO Ranjit who then told her to persuade her husband to admit to the offence and cooperate. According to her IO Ranjit informed her that he would subsequently secure the accused’s release. Thereafter IO Ranjit handed over the phone to the accused and DW2 Kalairasi Subramaniam told the accused to admit to the charge.

As observed in Chai Chien Wei Kelvin v PP [1998] SGCA 64, “the test of voluntariness is applied in a manner which is partly objective and partly subjective. The objective limb is satisfied if there is a threat, inducement or promise, and the subjective limb when the threat, inducement or promise operates on the mind of the particular accused through hope of escape or fear of punishment connected with the charge: Dato Mokhtar bin Hashim v PP [1983] 2 MLJ 232 and Md Desa bin Hashim v PP [1995] 3 MLJ 350. It is also established that where voluntariness is challenged, the burden is on the Prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the confession was made...

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