Public Prosecutor v Rozman bin Jusoh and Another

CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)
JudgeKarthigesu JA
Defendant CounselMohamed Muzammil (MPD Nair & Co),Ahmad Khalis (Wong, Khalis & Junaini)
Subject MatterWhether presumption rebutted by reason of subnormal intellect of accused taken together with entrapment operation,Evidence,Unsoundness of mind,Presumption under s 17,Misuse of Drugs Act,s 30 Evidence Act (Cap 97, 1990 Ed),Confessions,s 84 Penal Code (Cap 224),Whether subnormal intellect could amount to unsoundness of mind,Trafficking in controlled drugs,Confession of co-accused,Whether confession could still be relied on as evidence against accused,General exceptions,Criminal Law,Proof of evidence,Effect of retraction,Statutory offences,s 17 Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185)
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselSowaran Singh and Winston Cheng (Deputy Public Prosecutors)
Docket NumberCriminal Appeal No 11 of 1995
Date14 August 1995

Cur Adv Vult

The respondents, Rozman bin Jusoh (Rozman) and Razali bin Mat Zin (Razali), were jointly tried before the High Court on charges under the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185) (the Act). The first charge was against Rozman alone, and it was that he trafficked in a block of substance containing not less than 1040.8g of cannabis by delivering it to one Tan Keng Ann (Tan) at Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant, Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, Singapore at about 7.40pm on 25 November 1993, which is an offence under s 5(a) and punishable under s 33 of the Act. The second charge was against Razali alone and was related to the first charge against Rozman. It was that he, Razali, abetted Rozman in the commission of that offence by engaging with Rozman in a conspiracy to traffic in that quantity of cannabis and in pursuance of that conspiracy Rozman delivered the cannabis to Tan on that day, 25 November 1993, which is an offence under s 5(a) read with s 12 and punishable under s 33 of the Act. The third charge was a joint charge against both of them, namely, that in furtherance of their common intention they had in their possession one block of substance containing not less than 943.3g of cannabis on a motorcycle, JDA 1649, at Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore, at about 7.40pm on the same day of 25 November 1993 and that by virtue of s 17 of the Act they trafficked in that quantity of drugs, which is again an offence under s 5(a) and punishable under s 33 of the Act. At the conclusion of the trial Rozman was found guilty of possession of both quantities of drugs under s 8 of the Act in relation to the first and third charges, and Razali was acquitted of both the second and third charges. Against the decision of the High Court, the prosecution has now appealed.

The prosecution`s case

The evidence adduced by the prosecution was not materially in dispute. On 24 November 1993, acting on information, Senior Staff Sergeant Shah Ni bin Haji Shah Rom (Shah Ni) of the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) instructed Tan, also a CNB officer, to accompany a CNB agent-informant in an undercover operation to purchase a kilogram of cannabis from an unidentified male Malay at Rochor Centre and to arrest that person. After receiving the necessary briefings from Shah Ni, Tan went to Rochor Centre with the agent-informant. There Tan was introduced to Rozman, and he enquired whether the latter had any cannabis for sale. Arising from their discussion, Rozman agreed to sell one kilogram of cannabis to Tan for $1,800 and delivery was agreed to take place the following day at 5pm at Rochor Centre. The conversation took place mainly in bazaar Malay, interlaced with a few Hokkien words expressing the sum of $1,800 or $1,900 as the price for the cannabis and an occasional English word. Tan admitted that his proficiency in Malay did not extend to the level of enabling him to express the figure of $1,800 or $1,900.

On 25 November 1993, Tan met Rozman again at Rochor Centre at about 5.30pm. On meeting Rozman, Tan led him to a staircase situated next to a coffee-shop and showed him the money with which he proposed to pay. Rozman then asked for $1,850, expressing the figures in Hokkien. Tan at first protested at the price increase but eventually agreed and proposed that they should conclude the deal at the McDonald`s restaurant nearby. Tan said that Rozman did not agree to the venue on the ground that there were many CNB operatives around. Rozman suggested that they should meet at the bus stop opposite Bukit Timah Shopping Centre instead at about 7pm that evening, to which Tan agreed.

Tan met Rozman at around 7pm at the spot as arranged. Both of them walked over to a nearby lamppost. Tan noticed a motorcycle bearing registration number JDA 1649 parked nearby, as well as a male Malay, later ascertained to be Razali, who was seated on the concrete embankment surrounding a big tree, a short distance from the motorcycle. Tan and Rozman conversed briefly, again in bazaar Malay. Tan claimed that he did not have the money with him as his `boss` was angry that Rozman had unilaterally changed the venue for the transaction. They agreed to meet again shortly to effect delivery of the drugs at the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant at Bukit Timah Shopping Centre. Following that, Tan arrived at the KFC restaurant after having informed his colleagues, who were detailed to assist him in the operation, of the change of venue for the transaction.

In the meantime, at about 7.25pm, Cpl Abdul Rahim bin Kromoh as well as WNO Siti Hawa bte Sulaiman, who were keeping watch in the vicinity of the bus stop, observed Rozman talking to Razali at the railing near the bus stop. Rozman and Razali were then seen approaching the motorcycle JDA 1649. Rozman took something from the motorcycle and made his way to the KFC restaurant. Razali did not accompany Rozman but seated himself under a tree close to the motorcycle.

Rozman met Tan at the KFC restaurant and placed a green-coloured paper bag on the table. Tan asked him where the cannabis was, whereupon Rozman opened the paper bag and pointed out the content to Tan. Tan then got up and told Rozman that he was getting a drink. He joined a queue in front of the sales counter. While Tan was waiting in the queue, Rozman strolled up to the queue and requested Tan to get him a root beer. In accordance with the prearranged plan, Tan then undid the elastic band that bound his hair to signal to the CNB officers to move in and arrest Rozman. The officers responded and arrested Rozman, seizing the green paper bag and inside the bag was a bundle (which we shall refer to as `bundle A`). Other members of the CNB team arrested Razali. They found a paper bag containing another bundle (which we shall refer to as `bundle B`) wrapped with masking tapes and newspaper between the handlebars and the seat of the motorcycle. When Shah Ni questioned Rozman and Razali as to who owned the motorcycle, Rozman replied that the motorcycle belonged to Razali whereas Razali said that he had nothing to do with it.

The investigating officer, S/Sgt Soh Koh Tong (S/Sgt Soh), arrived at the scene at about 9pm. At about 10.10pm, after officers from the Scene of Crime Unit had, among other things, dusted the motorcycle for fingerprints, the party of officers left the scene with the two accused persons and the exhibits, and arrived at the CNB Headquarters at about 10.45pm.

Subsequently, a scientific analysis of the contents of the two bundles was carried out by Ms Helena Granroth and according to her analysis the substance from bundle A (seized from Rozman) contained 1,040.8g of cannabis and the substance from bundle B (seized later from the motorcycle) contained 943.3g of cannabis. This evidence was not challenged by the defence and was admitted.

Evidence adduced by the prosecution through Immigration Officer Sin Fook Heng (PS8/PW7) established that Razali entered Singapore on 25 November 1993 through Woodlands Checkpoint, by motorcycle JDA 1649.

S/Sgt Soh testified that he recorded two long statements from Rozman while the latter was in remand at Queenstown Remand Prison with the assistance of Abdul Razak bin Othman (Abdul Razak), a certified Malay interpreter attached to CNB. The defence did not object to the admission of these statements and they were admitted in evidence. The statements contained admissions that Rozman had trafficked in the drugs, and also evidence which incriminated Razali in respect of both the second and third charges.

Abdul Razak testified that when Rozman was giving his statement to S/Sgt Soh, he found Rozman to be extremely slow. He did not consider Rozman to be evasive but he observed that Rozman had to take a long time to think before he could answer simple questions, such as how many siblings he had or whether he knew Razali. It sometimes took him five minutes just to answer a simple question. Abdul Razak said that he felt that Rozman was of subnormal intelligence. In view of this, Rozman was subsequently referred for an examination by a government psychologist, Mr Foo Mun Choon (Mr Foo), from the Prisons Department. Mr Foo is not a clinical psychologist. He testified that he examined Rozman at Queenstown Remand Prison for about one hour and 15 minutes. He found that Rozman knew right from wrong. Rozman was not mentally subnormal and possessed an intelligence quotient (IQ) of just above 90. Mr Foo said that the average IQ of a normal person is between 90 and 110 and if one were to score below 90, he would be classified as `dull`. Mr Foo tested Rozman by means of a nonverbal test known as the `Raven`s Progressive Matrices Test`. He employed this test to minimize cultural bias and to seek Rozman`s reasoning ability, logical realities and powers of discrimination. Rozman was able to complete successfully 40 out of 60 diagrams contained within the test in one hour. No other tests were conducted. No notes of the interview with Rozman were kept. In Mr Foo`s opinion, Rozman `showed normal comprehension on reasoning skills and should know right from wrong`. He therefore did not consider Rozman to be mentally subnormal.

On 29 July 1994, S/Sgt Soh instructed Corporal Rohanah bte Abdul Hamid (Cpl Rohanah) of the Scene of Crime Unit to retake photographs of some prints previously lifted from bundle B. On 18 August 1994 as instructed, Cpl Rohanah took the fingerprint impressions of Razali in the presence of his counsel. According to Inspector Lau Yeow Khoon, the Assistant Registrar of Criminals and the officer-in-charge of the fingerprint section of the Criminal Records Office, he had no doubt that the fingerprint found on bundle B, ie outside of the bundle, was the right thumbprint impression of Razali.

Rozman`s defence

Rozman gave evidence in his defence. His evidence has been set out in detail in the judgment of the learned trial judge, which we respectfully adopt. Rozman is a native of Kelantan, born in 1971, and had studied there up to Secondary III...

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