Public Prosecutor v Raju s/o Andiappan

JudgeAdrian Soon Kim Kwee
Judgment Date31 July 2008
Neutral Citation[2008] SGDC 217
CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
Published date06 August 2008
Plaintiff CounselInspector Ramasamy
Defendant CounselJoseph Liow (Straits Law Practice LLC)
Citation[2008] SGDC 217

31 July 2008

District Judge Adrian Soon:


1. The Accused, Ragu s/o Andiappan, faced 4 charges. The first 3 charges were for failing to report for urine test, an offence under Regulation 15(3)(f) of the Misuse of Drugs (Approved Institutions and Treatment and Rehabilitation) Regulations (Cap 185, Reg 3). He pleaded to these 3 charges. The 4th charge (DAC 3226/2008) is for an offence under s 31(2) and punishable with enhanced punishment under s 33A(2) the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185)(‘MDA’). The accused claimed trial to the 4th charge. At the end of the trial, he was found guilty and convicted. The sentenced passed for the 4th charge was 7 years imprisonment and 6 strokes of the cane. He is now appealing against the conviction on the 4th charge only. The 4th charge reads:

DAC 3226/2008 [Exhibit C4B]

NRIC: S 7527290 A
D.O.B: 11 AUGUST 1975

are charged that you, on 2nd January 2008 at about 10.20 pm., at Jurong Police Divisional Headquarter, Singapore, did without reasonable excuse, fail to provide a specimen of your urine as required by Sergeant Ong Teng Wei, an officer of the Central Narcotics Bureau and thereby committed an offence under Section 31(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act, Chapter 185.

And further that you, before the commission of the said offence, had been convicted on 27th January 2000 in the Subordinate Court 24 (DAC 3231/2000) for an offence of Consumption of Morphine, a Specified Drug under Section 8(b)(ii) punishable under Section 33A(1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act, Chapter 185, and sentenced to 5 years and 6 months imprisonment with 3 strokes of the cane, which conviction has not been set aside, and you are thereby liable for enhanced punishment under Section 33A(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act, Chapter 185

Prosecution’s Case

2. On 2 January 2008, at about 8.20 pm, Inspector Ng Khai Song (PW1)(‘Insp Ng’) led a party of Central Narcotics Bureau Officers from Jurong Division to arrest two male Indians for drug related offences. The accused was one of the two arrested. The other was one Saravanan s/o Gopal (‘Saravanan’). They were brought to the Jurong Police Station at about 9.15 pm. At about 9.20 pm, both the accused and Saravanan were required to provide urine specimen for the Instant Urine Test (‘IUT’). They were warned that a failure to provide a urine specimen would constitute an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act. The accused refused to provide a specimen despite being asked to do so at half hourly intervals by various CNB officers from the time he was first brought to the Jurong Police Station until he was transferred to the CNB at the Cantonment Complex at 3.00 am. on 3 January 2008. The number of times the accused was asked to give a urine specimen is documented in the Police Station Diary (Exhibit P3). Amongst the CNB Officers who required the accused to provide a urine specimen was Sgt Ong Teng Wei (PW2)(‘Sgt Ong’). At 10.20 pm, PW2 questioned the accused as to when he would give a urine specimen. His reply was, “I am not going to give my urine sample. You charge me in Court and I will talk.” PW2 recorded this event in the station diary and invited the accused to sign after the entry. The accused declined to do so. At 10.30 pm, PW2 again required the accused to provide a urine specimen. Once again, he refused to do so saying, “I am not going to give my urine sample. You charge me in Court and I will talk.” At 11.00 pm. PW2 repeated his request for the accused to provide a urine specimen. The accused’s response to the request was this: “I don’t want. I have nothing to say.” PW2 made entries of these 3 occasions at which he had requested the accused to provide his urine specimen but declined to do so. These entries are found in the Police Station Diary (Exhibit P3) (at p 95). PW2 asked the accused to sign after the entries but he refused to. At no time did the accused inform PW2 that he was so drunk that he was unable to give his urine specimen. If he had done so, PW2 would have recorded this in the station diary. It is PW2’s evidence that he did not find the accused to be in a drunken and incapable state. He did not find the accused to be in a state of not knowing what was going on.

3. Apart from PW2, the other CNB officers who had required the accused to provide his urine specimen are Inspector Ng Khai Song (PW1) and SGT Mohamed Rizal. However, the accused did not provide a specimen when asked to do so.

Trial-within-a trial – Statement ‘A’

4. As part of its case, the Prosecution proceeded to introduce 3 statements recorded from the accused as evidence. They were marked for identification as Exhibits ‘A’, ‘B’ & ‘C’ respectively. ‘A’ is a statement recorded under the provisions of s 121 of the Criminal Procedure Code (‘CPC’). ‘B’ is a further statement recorded under s 121 of the CPC. ‘C’ is a statement taken under the provisions of s 122(6) of the CPC. Out of the 3 statements, the Defence only challenged the voluntariness of statement ‘A’. A trial-a-trial was conducted to determine the admissibility of statement ‘A’. As for statements “B’ and ‘C’, they were subsequently admitted and marked without objection as Exhibit P5 and P6 respectively.

In the trial-within-the trial, the Prosecution recalled PW2 who recorded statement ‘A’ from the accused. PW2 stated that before recording the statement on 3 Jan 2008 at about 2.40 am. at the Jurong Police Station, he had ascertained that the accused was able to communicate in English. The recording ended at about 3.05 am. Thereupon, PW2 read back and explained the statement to the accused. The accused was then invited to make corrections, amendments or additions. He declined to do so. The accused signed at the left bottom corner of both the pages of the statement and wrote his identity card number below his signatures. PW2 signed at the right bottom of both the pages. PW2 stated that he did not offer any threat, promise or inducement to the accused before, during or after the statement was recorded. When it was put to him under cross-examination by the Defence that the accused had very little recollection on what happened at the Jurong Police Station because he was high on alcohol and had consumed sleeping pills, PW2 disagreed with it. It was also put to PW2 that that just as he had refused to sign on the station diary, the accused did not voluntarily sign statement ‘A’. PW2 disagreed with this stand adopted by the Defence.

5. The accused elected to give evidence at the trial-within-a-trial. He testified that he was seeing statement ‘A’ for the very first time when it was shown to him. He confirmed that the signatures in the statement were his and the identity card numbers were written by him. However, he claimed that he had no recollection of signing or writing the identity card numbers. The accused said he could not recall what happened at the Jurong Police Station. All that he could remember was that on 3 January 08, he was brought from Jurong Police Station to the Cantonment Police Division. His explanation for this was that prior to his arrest, he had consumed four Dormicum pills which are sleeping pills and 6-7 bottles of beer between 3-4 pm. He was not himself and did not know what was happening to him from about 6-7 pm. He only became sober the next day when he discovered from other inmates at the lockup that he was at the Cantonment Police Division.

6. In the trial-within-the trial on the admissibility of statement ‘A’, the burden was on the Prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had made statement ‘A’ and that it was made voluntarily. The two main issues to be determined are therefore these:

(1) Was statement ‘A’ made by the accused to SGT Ong? and

(2) If it was made by the accused, was it made voluntarily?

7. On the first issue, the Prosecution has adduced evidence from PW2 that statement ‘A’ which was recorded by him was made by the accused. The stand adopted by the Defence on this issue can be seen from the opening words of its oral submission which as follows:

“It is for the Prosecution to prove the statement was given voluntarily. I emphasize that just because the statement is given without threat, promise or inducement, it was made voluntarily. The person giving the statement must know what is going on. He must know what statement he was making.”

8. The Defence then listed 4 reasons why the accused did not know what statement he was making. On the part of the accused, he stated that he did not know what happened at Jurong Police Station and did not recall making the statement though he acknowledged that the signatures in the statement were his. Under cross-examination, he was asked if the contents of statement ‘A’ had been fabricated by the recorder. He replied, “I would not know.” In fact at no time did the accused allege that the recorder had fabricated the statement. The learned Defence Counsel too made it clear that he was not suggesting that the recorder had fabricated the statement. Therefore, it was clear that the Defence was in fact not challenging that statement ‘A’ was made by the accused and that there was no threat, promise or inducement offered to him at anytime.

9. The thrust of the Defence’ stand in the trial-within-the trial was that the accused did not know what statement he was making because he was not sober. The crux of the accused’s evidence in support of this stand may be summarised in this manner:

1) The first time he set eyes on statement ‘A’ was 9 April 2008;

2) He could not remember what he did after his arrest till after the time he was brought to Cantonment Complex when he became sober;

4) The accused’s inability to recall probably started at 6-7 pm; and

5) The accused attributed his inability to remember the events during that period to two things. Firstly, he had consumed 6-7 bottles of beer from the afternoon till about 6-7 pm. Secondly, he had taken 4 Dormicum pills at 3-4 pm. when they were offered to him by...

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