Public Prosecutor v Tsang Yuk Chung

JurisdictionSingapore
Judgment Date03 September 1990
Date03 September 1990
Docket NumberCriminal Appeal No 14 of 1988
CourtCourt of Appeal (Singapore)
Tsang Yuk Chung
Plaintiff
and
Public Prosecutor
Defendant

[1990] SGCA 10

Wee Chong Jin CJ

,

Lai Kew Chai J

and

Yong Pung How J

Criminal Appeal No 14 of 1988

Court of Appeal

Criminal Law–Offences–Murder–Whether act done with intention of causing bodily injury–Whether injury intended–Section 300 Penal Code (Cap 224, 1985 Rev Ed)–Criminal Procedure and Sentencing–Appeal–Findings of fact–Appellate court's treatment of first instance findings of fact–Intention of causing bodily injury and sufficiency of such bodily injury in the ordinary course of nature to cause death findings of fact–Criminal Procedure and Sentencing–Statements–Cautioned statement–Admissibility–Effect of police omitting to explain charge or warning–Sections 122 (5), 122 (6), 122 (7) and 123 (1) Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68, 1985 Rev Ed)

The appellant was convicted of murder. His cautioned statement was admitted at his trial. On appeal the appellant proceeded on two grounds. Firstly, he argued that the cautioned statement should not have been admitted, as the investigating officer recording the statement had failed to comply with the provisions of s 122 (6) of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68, 1985 Rev Ed) (“the Code”) by failing to explain the charge or the prescribed warning. Secondly, he argued that he should not have been convicted as the trial judges had erred at law and in fact in finding that his stabbing of the deceased was done with the intention of causing bodily injury to the deceased, and that the bodily injury intended to be inflicted was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death.

Held, dismissing the appeal:

(1) Section 122 (6) of the Code did not provide for the admissibility of statements; rather it was s 122 (5) that did. A statement whether or not it was purported to have been made under s 122 (6) was admissible so long as s 122 (5) was satisfied: at [15] to [17].

(2) A statement recorded under s 122 (6) was also admissible in evidence for the purpose stated in s 123 (1) of the Code. Non-compliance with s 122 (6) resulted, not in the statement being inadmissible, but in enabling the court to take such non-compliance into consideration when deciding what inferences, if any, should be drawn from the failure of the accused to mention certain facts: at [18] and [20].

(3) The requirement that the notice in s 122 (6) “be explained” was satisfied if an accused was told in general terms what the charge and warning meant. Since accused persons differed in background, what form the explanation took must ultimately depend on the facts of each case: at [30].

(4) The law for the application of the third limb of s 300 of the Penal Code had been settled by the case of PP v Visuvanathan [1977-1978] SLR (R) 27. That the appellant's stabbing of the deceased was done with the intention of causing bodily injury to the deceased, and that the bodily injury intended to be inflicted was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death, were findings of fact. An appellate court would not disturb findings of fact unless they were clearly reached against the weight of the evidence: at [36] to [39] and [47].

PP v Chan Kin Choi [1988] 2 SLR (R) 611; [1988] SLR 1011 (refd)

PP v Chan Sway Beng [1988] 1 SLR (R) 437; [1988] SLR 496 (distd)

PP v Visuvanathan [1977-1978] SLR (R) 27; [1975-1977] SLR 564 (folld)

Wong Mimi v PP [1971-1973] SLR (R) 412; [1972-1974] SLR 73 (not folld)

Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68,1985Rev Ed)ss 122 (5), 122 (6), 122 (7), 123 (1) (consd)

Penal Code (Cap 224,1985Rev Ed)s 300 (consd)

Michael Teo (Michael S E Teo) for the appellant

Seng Kwang Boon (Deputy Public Prosecutor) for the respondent.

Wee Chong Jin CJ

(delivering the grounds of decision of the court):

1 The appellant was convicted by the High Court of the offence of murder. [See [1988] 2 SLR (R) 219.] We dismissed his appeal and now give our reasons.

2 At the hearing of the appeal counsel for the appellant advanced two grounds.

The first ground

3 The first ground is that the trial judges had erred in law and in fact by admitting in evidence the statement of the appellant recorded under s 122 (6) of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68, 1985 Rev Ed) (“the CPC”).

4 Counsel for the appellant conceded that the statement was made voluntarily, and without any inducement, threat or promise. However, he argued that the provisions of s 122 (6) had not been complied with by the investigating officer who recorded the statement thereunder in that the investigating officer did not explain the charge nor the prescribed warning to the appellant.

5 The relevant facts were as follows:

(a) On 15 October 1985 at 6.10pm, the investigating officer, one Inspector Lee Kim Seng, through a certified interpreter, one Wong Shue Hong, charged the appellant with murder. This was done by Inspector Lee reading in English a typewritten charge, which was interpreted by Mr Wong in Cantonese for the appellant, who was a Hong Kong seaman. The appellant signed the typewritten charge. According to Inspector Lee, this was to acknowledge that he understood it. Inspector Lee and Mr Wong also signed the typewritten charge.

(b) At 6.15pm the same day, Inspector Lee wrote the charge out on a piece of paper and read it to the appellant in English. Mr Wong interpreted it in Cantonese for the appellant. The appellant, Inspector Lee and Mr Wong signed below the handwritten charge. Inspector Lee then wrote the following words:

The above charge which is similar to the typed (sic) written one read earlier was read and explained to the accused by the interpreter. The accused understood the charge and signed after it. The interpreter and I also signed.

(c) Then, all three of them signed again. Inspector Lee then wrote on the paper the following warning:

Do you wish to say anything in answer to the charge? If there is any fact on which you intend to rely in your defence in court, you are advised to mention it now. If you hold it back till you go to court, your evidence may be less likely to be believed and this may have a bad effect on your case in general. If you wish to mention any fact now, and you would like it written down, this will be done.

(d) Inspector Lee read the warning to the appellant in English. Mr Wong interpreted it in Cantonese for the appellant. The appellant, Inspector Lee and Mr Wong signed below the warning. Inspector Lee then wrote the following words:

The above Notice of Warning was read and explained to the accused by the interpreter. Having understood it, the accused was invited to sign after it. The interpreter and I also signed it. I then served a copy of the charge and Notice of Warning to the accused.

(e) Then, all three of them signed again. A copy of the piece of paper on which the charge and warning was written was then served on the appellant.

(f) The appellant then made a statement through Mr Wong which was recorded in English by Inspector Lee as follows:

I admitted that I stab (sic) him (the deceased) with the knife because on four occasions the deceased threatened to ask someone to assault me when we return (sic) to Hong Kong. On the last occasion on 15 October 1985 at about 6.30am, the deceased wanted attack me with a knife but I ran away. Later, when I saw the deceased, he (deceased) told me that he would certainly...

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7 cases
  • Chan Chi Pun v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 8 Marzo 1994
    ... ... In Tsang Yuk Chung v PP , it was argued before the Court of Appeal that the s 122(6) statement was inadmissible because the warning in s 122(6) of the CPC had ... ...
  • Muhammad bin Kadar and another v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 5 Julio 2011
    ...it was actually made. This determination in Sathiadew (CCA) was reached by parity of reasoning with Tsang Yuk Chung v Public Prosecutor [1990] 2 SLR(R) 39 (“Tsang Yuk Chung”), where the court held (at [17]–[20]) that a failure to follow the notice procedure in s 122(6) did not render a stat......
  • Muhammad bin Kadar and another v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 5 Julio 2011
    ...it was actually made. This determination in Sathiadew (CCA) was reached by parity of reasoning with Tsang Yuk Chung v Public Prosecutor [1990] 2 SLR(R) 39 (“Tsang Yuk Chung”), where the court held (at [17]–[20]) that a failure to follow the notice procedure in s 122(6) did not render a stat......
  • Sim Eng Teck v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 1 Agosto 1998
    ...v Visuvanathan [1978] 1 MLJ 159 [1975-1977] SLR 564 , a case affirmed by this court and followed in Tsang Yuk Chang v PP [1990] 3 MLJ 264 [1990] SLR 107 . A reading of Ramachandran v PP [1993] 2 SLR 671 and PP v Ow Ah Cheng [1992] 1 SLR 797 yielded useful guidance on construing an accused`s......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • ADMISSIBILITY AND THE DISCRETION TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal No. 2013, December 2013
    • 1 Diciembre 2013
    ...person's mental disability. For example, see R v Stewart(1972) 56 Cr App R 272. 113 See paras 25–28 below. 114 See para 9 above. 115[1990] 2 SLR(R) 39. See also Muhammad bin Kadar v Public Prosecutor[2011] 3 SLR 1205 at [44]. 116 See also Vasavan Sathiadew v Public Prosecutor[1992] SGCA 26 ......

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