Public Prosecutor v Viknesh s/o Karishnan

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeEugene Teo Weng Kuan
Judgment Date05 March 2010
Neutral Citation[2010] SGDC 88
Citation[2010] SGDC 88
Publication Date22 March 2010
Plaintiff CounselEdwin Ignatius
Defendant CounselAccused in person

5 March 2010

District Judge Eugene Teo Weng Kuan.

The accused pleaded guilty to a single littering charge before Court 14, and the usual fine was imposed. He has since filed an appeal against the sentence. These are my Grounds of Decision in respect of the sentence imposed.

Charge:

2. The charge against the accused was brought by the National Environment Agency (“NEA”). It reads as follows:

You, VIKNESH S/O KARISHNAN (S9108045A), of Blk 217 Bt Batok St 21 #03-371 Singapore 650217 are charged that you on 4 July 2009 at about 7.25pm, at the public place at Race Course Road, you did throw a cigarette butt in a public place and you have thereby contravened section 17(1)(a) of the Environmental Public Health Act, Cap 95, and committed an offence under section 17(3) and punishable under section 21(1)(c) of the aforesaid Act.

3. The penalties for such littering offences is provided for under section 21(1)(c) Environmental Public Health Act (“the Act”), and it states:

(i) in the case of a first conviction, $1,000;

(ii) in the case of a second conviction, $2,000; and

(iii) in the case of a third or subsequent conviction, $5,000.

Pleaded Guilty:

4. After the charge was read and explained to the accused, he pleaded guilty. The facts for such regulatory summonses were as per the charge. The accused admitted to this without qualification and he was accordingly found guilty and convicted on the charge. In terms of antecedents, the NEA prosecutor confirmed that nothing was known against the accused. The maximum penalty in this case was therefore $1,000.

Mitigation:

5. When asked if he had anything to say in mitigation as to why leniency should be shown to him, the accused indicated that he had nothing to say.

Sentence

6. In the context of regulatory summonses as dealt with in Court 14, the present case was fairly unremarkable. Even though composition is actively encouraged for regulatory summonses – with agencies offering tiered rates to promote early composition – there remains a persistent group which will fail to respond to correspondence sent to them offering composition (and thus obviating the summons proceedings). As a result, hundreds of such summonses are issued to this group and are dealt with on a daily basis in the night courts. Given the numbers involved, the court system catering to these cases needs to be efficient, clear and proportionate. Even when a case has reached the summons stage, composition is still offered in many cases, and two...

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