Public Prosecutor v Vimalan Shanmugam

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeLiew Thiam Leng
Judgment Date07 November 2012
Neutral Citation[2012] SGDC 439
Citation[2012] SGDC 439
Published date29 November 2012
Defendant CounselDPP Mr Terence Chua and Ms Michelle Yeo
Docket NumberDAC 2334/12 & ors
District Judge Liew Thiam Leng:

The accused is facing a charge for importing a controlled drug (Diamorphine) specified in Class ‘A’ of the First Schedule to the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185) under section 7 of the Misuse of Drugs Act and punishable under section 33 of the aforesaid Act. The accused claimed trial to the charge and at the end of the trial, he was found guilty and convicted accordingly. He was sentenced to the mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years and 15 strokes of the cane. He is appealing against the conviction.


DAC 6990/2012- Exhibit C

You, Vimalan Shanmugam, M/22 years, FIN No. XXX, Malaysian Passport No. XXX, DOB: 22/05/1989, are charged that you, on the 2nd day of June 2011, at or about 6.37 am, at Woodlands Checkpoint Arrival Channel, Singapore, did import a controlled drug specified in Class ‘A’ of the First Schedule to the Misuse of Drugs Act, Cap 185, to wit, 888.9 grams of granular/ powdery substance which was analysed and found to contain not less than 11.16 grams of diamorphine, without any authorization under the said Act or the Regulations made thereunder and you have thereby committed an offence under Section 7 and punishable under Section 33 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, Cap 185.

Facts of the Case

Briefly, the accused was wearing a helmet and riding a motorcycle JGW 5096 on the 2nd June, 2011 and upon reaching the Woodlands Checkpoint at about 6.37am, he was denied entry and arrested on suspicion of importing a controlled drug. A search was conducted and the following exhibits were found in the accused’s helmet (P3):-

One packet wrapped in newspaper containing a brown granular substance marked as “A1A1” and

One packet wrapped in newspaper containing a brown granular substance marked as “A1B1”.

These two exhibits were subsequently sent to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for an analysis. The HSA confirmed that the two exhibits contain no less than 11.16 grams of diamorphine. The drug diamorphine is listed in Part I (Class A) of the First Schedule to the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185, 2008 Rev Edition).

Prosecutions’s Case

On 2 June 2011 at 6.14am, the accused tried to enter Singapore on a Malaysian-registered motorcycle, a black Yamaha Lagenda bearing registration number JGW 5096. While attempting to enter through Arrival Motor 53, the accused was stopped due to his being on the Category “H” checklist. One Periamalai A/L Supramaniam (DW3, the co-accused), who entered Singapore at the same time, was also stopped at Arrival Motor 63. Both accused persons, along with their motorcycles, were escorted by AETOS officers CPL Masdaud Mahed (PW1) and PC Mohammed Nazri (“PC Nazri”) to the Secondary Team (“ST”) parking lot at Woodlands Checkpoint Car Arrival. The accused person’s motorcycle was parked at Lot A42 and the co-accused ‘s at Lot 40. In between, in Lot A41, was another motorcycle bearing registration number JKE4104.

CPL Masdaud and PC Lor Ji Cun (“PC Lor”) who had been on standby at the ST parking lot, escorted the two accused persons into the Arrival Car ST office. PC Nazri proceeded to update the ST office records. When they entered the office, CPL Masdaud and PC Lor both noticed that the accused persons had not taken their helmets with them. CPL Masdaud instructed both accused persons to bring their helmets into the ST office. PC Lor escorted the accused persons back to the ST parking lot to retrieve their helmets: however, as they were walking a distance ahead of him and his view was obstructed by persons and vehicles, he did not have a clear view of the accused persons as they collected their helmets. When they returned, the accused was carrying a red helmet, while DW3 was carrying a black one. PC Lor escorted the accused persons back into the ST office. The accused sat on the extreme right of the first row of seats, while the co-accused sat in the back. Shortly after, a male Malaysian, one Peter Anak Kilat (“Kilat”), entered the office and said that he had lost his red helmet, which he had placed on his motorcycle. CPL Masdaud pointed out the red helmet that the accused had brought in, which Kilat identified as his, and took the helmet away. Both CPL Masdaud and PC Lor noted that the accused did not behave defensively or react in any way.

PC Lor escorted the accused back to the ST parking lot. The accused retrieved the helmet (P3) which was on his motorcycle bearing registration number JGW 5096, and was escorted back into the ST office.

CPL Masdaud and PC Nazri have stated in their evidence that they noticed that the accused appeared nervous. Both witnesses observed that the accused had clutched his t-shirt tightly with his right hand, with his arms crossed. CPL Masdaud also testified that the accused “looked like a suspicious character” to him.

The accused person then took his mobile phone out and scrolled through it, but immediately put it away when CPL Masdaud approached him. Shortly after, at 6.28 am, a team of CNB officers arrived at the ST office. SSSGT Chor Guo Hui Desmond (PW5) took over custody of the accused and asked him if he knew the co-accused. The accused said he did not. SSSGT Chor Guo Hui Desmond (PW5), SGT Wilson Chew, SI Kong Wee Lee (PW3) and SSGT Wilson Low (PW4) then escorted the accused, together with his personal belongings, to his motorcycle. The co-accused remained in the ST office.

The accused person was searched. SSGT Wilson Low started to search P3 in the accused person’s presence. Both SSGT Wilson Low and SSSGT Chor Guo Hui Desmond (PW5) observed that the accused seemed nervous. SSGT Wilson Low stated in evidence that Exhibit P3 was heavier than the bulk of helmets that he had handled on a daily basis. After noticing this, he lifted the lining of the helmet, which shifted easily and right away to reveal newspaper wrappings underneath. SSGT Wilson Low recovered two newspaper-wrapped bundles (Exhibits P1A and P2A) from beneath the lining of the accused persons’s helmet. The accused was immediately put under arrest. The accused person’s vehicle was also checked, during which the accused was observed to be crying. Nothing else was recovered.

The co-accused was searched separately and was released from custody around 7.05 am. After this, the accused informed the officers that he knew the co-accused. SSgt Low called SSSGT Chor Guo Hui Desmond (PW5) to tell him this. SSSGT Chor Guo Hui Desmond (PW5) checked with the ICA office to see if the co-accused was still there, but he had left. W/ASP Daphne Lee (PW7) delivered the drug exhibits marked as “A1A1” and “A1B1” to the Health Sciences Authority (“HSA”) for analysis at 11.28am on 3 June 2011.

On 26 January 2012, Lim Jong Jee Wendy, an analyst with the HSA who had analysed the drug exhibits, issued two certificates (Exhibits P1 and P2) which stated that the exhibits contained a total of 888.9 grams of a granular’powdery substance which was analysed and found to contain 11.16 grams of diamorphine.

At the close of the prosecution’s case, the court was satisfied that the prosecution had established a prima facie case for calling of the defence which if unrebutted would warrant a conviction. After the caution was administered to the accused by the court, the accused elected to give evidence on oath.

Defence Case.

The defence is that the accused was unaware that he had been made use of by one Jack and one Periamalai (“co-accused”) to import the said amount of diamorphine into Singapore. The accused’s case is that he did not know that he was in possession of a controlled drug and the nature of the drug that he was found in possession. The accused gave evidence that he did not know that there were controlled drugs in the helmet that he was wearing, much less that the controlled drugs was diamorphine. The accused gave evidence that he was planning to come to Singapore on 2 June 2011 as he had a job interview at Senoko, Woodlands. The defence case is that it is significant that when the accused was arrested, the following items (Exhibits P29 serial nos. 2, 21, 22 and 23) were found in his possession:

a receipt from a job search agency;

the address of the company that he was attending for the interview; and

his school records and records of his qualifications.

His evidence was that before he came into Singapore to go for the job interview, his friend, Jack, called him. This was at or about 2.30am. Jack had been known to the accused for about five years. At about 3.10am on the same day, Jack called the accused again and asked him if he could return a motorcycle helmet belonging to the co-accused in Singapore. The accused testified that he had seen Jack switch helmets with the co-accused in Singapore on a previous occasion.

Jack told the accused that he could not do it himself as he had just come back from Singapore and would not be allowed to go in again. As the accused was in any case going to Singapore for a job interview, the accused agreed to do Jack the favour. The accused was happy to do Jack the favour as the co-accused could then direct the accused to Senoko in Woodlands, as the accused was unfamiliar with Singapore. The accused agreed to do Jack the favour on his way to his interview and was not given any money or benefits for doing so. The defence case is that there is no evidence at all of any monies or benefit promised or paid to the accused.

At or about 4.00am, the accused rode his motorcycle to Jack’s house. The accused was not wearing a helmet. At Jack’s house, Jack handed a black helmet to the accused. There was nothing unusual about this helmet and he was asked to simply exchange the helmet with The co-accused at a flyover in Woodlands. On his way to the Johor customs however, the accused received a call from Jack. Jack (at the last minute) told the accused that there was a change in plans. He was to now meet the co-accused at a coffeeshop at Jalan Stulang Laut. Jack told the accused that he was to go with...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT