Roshdi v Public Prosecutor

CourtCourt of Appeal (Singapore)
JudgeGoh Joon Seng J
Judgment Date18 July 1994
Neutral Citation[1994] SGCA 98
Citation[1994] SGCA 98
Defendant CounselBala Reddy (Deputy Public Prosecutor)
Plaintiff CounselSinga Retnam (Singa Retnam & Fang) and Mahendra Prasad Rai (Robert WH Wang & Woo)
Published date19 September 2003
Docket NumberCriminal Appeal No 73 of 1993
Date22 August 1994
Subject MatterSudden fight,Private defence,Whether appellant had intended to cause more harm than necessary,Criminal Law,s 300, exception 4 Penal Code (Cap 224),s 300, exception 2 Penal Code (Cap 224),Whether right of private defence exceeded,Contents,Whether appellant took undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner,Statements,Special exceptions,s 122(6) Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68),Criminal Procedure and Sentencing,Whether appellant had acted in good faith in the exercise of the right of private defence,Cautioned statement,Sudden quarrel,General exceptions,Lack of premeditation,Whether an accused required to minutely detail the defence he intended to rely on at his trial

Cur Adv Vult

The appellant was convicted in the High Court of the murder of CNB Officer Insp Rajab bin Mohammed (the deceased), between 10pm on 8 March and 5am on 9 March 1993 at Blk 151, Serangoon North Ave 2, #02-41. He has now appealed against this conviction.

The deceased`s widow, Mdm Masita Sanoesi (Mdm Masita), testified that on 8 March at about 8.40pm, the deceased had telephoned CNB Officer Toon Ah Oon and requested him to inform the CNB Operations Room that he was going to meet an agent in Serangoon North, before he left his home at Blk 106, Towner Road, #08-446, taking his service revolver with him, which he tucked in his waist; he was driving his Daihatsu Charade SBF 7715U.
The deceased was the supervisor and officer-in-charge of CNB Cpl Ey Hock Chin (Cpl Ey). Cpl Ey stated that, at or about 9.05pm on 8 March 1993, while he was on duty at the Keppel Railway Station, the deceased called him on the telephone to enquire as to who were the officers on duty at the railway station. When Cpl Ey informed him that there were three of them on duty there, the deceased told Cpl Ey and the others to stand by to await for his further call. The deceased did not state for what reason they were to stand-by. Cpl Ey paged the deceased at about 11.30pm but there was no reply. Cpl Ey then left for home at about 2am. At about 7am on 9 March 1993, Cpl Ey learnt from the CNB that the deceased had not returned home that night. He himself had not heard from the deceased. Mdm Masita made a police report on 9 March 1993 at 4.27pm that the deceased had not returned home or called her since leaving home at about 8.40pm on 8 March 1993.

The appellant was arrested on 9 March 1993 at about 8.45pm by CNB officers, but not in connection with the murder of the deceased.
The investigations were initially carried out by Cpl Goh Beng Huat in relation to the missing persons report filed by Mdm Masita. On 10 March 1993, the investigations were handed over to Insp T Maniam (Insp Maniam) of the CID, the investigating officer of the case, who instructed Cpl Yee Fook Chung to place the appellant on arrest on the charge of murder of the deceased.

On 11 March 1993, the appellant led Insp Maniam to the deceased`s body which was bundled unceremoniously in cloth and hidden by cushions and newspapers in the back seat of his Daihatsu parked at the car park of Blk 492A, Tampines Ave 9, Street 45.
A black waist pouch belonging to the deceased was also recovered from the back seat of the car.

Dr Wee Keng Poh (Dr Wee) was the forensic pathologist who examined the deceased`s body on 12 March 1993.
He found the post-mortem changes present consistent with death having occurred about three days previously, ie on or about 8 March 1993. He found the following external injuries:

(1) Group of two lacerations, measuring 1.5cm and 0.5cm and 1 x 0.5cm with surrounding bruise over the mid forehead.

(2) Laceration, 2 x 0.5cm, left forehead just above and lateral to the left eyebrow.

(3) Laceration, right temporoparietal scalp, measuring 3 x 0.5cm and with surrounding bruise.

(4) Laceration, over right eyebrow laterally and with underlying compound comminuted fractures of the right orbital margins.

(5) Laceration, 4 x 0.5cm, left parieto-occipital scalp.

(6) Extensive oblique bruise with underlying haematoma, measuring 16 x 10cm with a small oblique laceration over the right parieto-occipital scalp, measuring 3.5cm x 0.5cm.

(7) Oblique bruise across bridge of nose, the left cheek to over the left mid mandible.

(8) Small laceration left lower lip laterally, measuring 0.5cm x 0.25cm.

The top of the deceased`s skull had suffered a near complete circumferential fracture.

His right third to fifth ribs were fractured anteriorly with intact parietal pleura.

Dr Wee stated that injuries (1) to (5) were caused by several blows with a heavy object inflicted with considerable force and that injuries (1) to (4) were inflicted from the front.
He said that it was unlikely that the injuries were inflicted accidentally. Dr Wee was unable to say how many blows were involved but he opined that there must have been more than one. He elaborated that the circumferential fracture could have been caused by blows to the front, sides or back of the head, with more blows from the front. He disagreed with defence counsel`s suggestion that the injuries could have been caused by a fist or for that matter by the deceased falling down from a standing position. He proffered the opinion that they could have been caused by the mortar recovered from the appellant`s flat. The net effect of these five injuries was that the top of the skull suffered a near complete circumferential fracture such that death would have occurred in a matter of minutes and that immediate medical attention would not have saved the deceased`s life. He confirmed that the skull fracture was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death. There were no defensive injuries found on the deceased.

On 12 March 1993 at about 11.35am, the appellant led Insp Maniam to Blk 466, Ang Mo Kio 10, #10-1032 (the appellant`s mother-in-law`s home at the material time), where he seized an `Old Spice` blue handbag (blue bag) which contained the following items:

(1) a Smith & Wesson revolver NO CNB 222 in a holster with five rounds of 0.38 ammunition;

(2) a Tag Heuer wrist watch;

(3) a shorthand notebook and three exercise books;

(4) a pair of spectacles and holder;

(5) two keys and a key pouch; and

(6) a dagger and a metal rod in a sheath.

On 12 March 1993 at Blk 151, #02-41, Serangoon North Ave 2 (the scene of the killing specified in the murder charge), Insp Maniam directed police photographer Teo Kay Huat to take photographs of, inter alia, blood stains on the floor in the sitting room next to the main door of the appellant`s flat.

In his medical report on the appellant dated 3 May 1993, Dr Wong Weng Yew stated that he attended to the appellant on 12 March 1993 at about 3pm.
The appellant claimed that he had been punched and complained of pain over the abdomen and the left ear. Dr Wong`s examination revealed that the appellant was comfortable, conscious and alert. The appellant had two linear scratch marks measuring 0.3cm long on the upper back. These scratch marks were crusting at the edges and were about a day old. Dr Wong opined that the scratch marks could have been caused by any sharp object, such as the sharp edge of a ruler. The appellant also had four small bruises about 2cm on his left wrist. Dr Wong was of the view that these were as a result of the handcuffs. There was a small ulcer on his lower right lip. Dr Wong disagreed with defence counsel, under cross-examination, that the ulcer could have been caused by a punch, as there was an absence of a resolving bruise adjacent to the ulcer. The abdomen was soft and there was no tenderness on palpation, indicating no sign of injury to the abdomen. There were no other injuries discovered on the appellant.

After this examination, the appellant gave the following cautioned statement on 12 March 1993 pursuant to the charge of murder which was admitted as evidence and unchallenged by the defence:

I hammered Rajab with a mortar inside my flat on his head. I did not have the intention to kill him. But when he retaliated and tried to pull out his revolver from his waist pouch, I hit him again with the mortar on his body. He used his hands to press against my neck. Then I hit again with the mortar on his head. I stopped hitting him when he became motionless. I wrapped him in a piece of cloth and carried the body to his car and drove and abandoned the car with the body inside at Multi Storey Car Park in Tampines.

On 11 September 1993, the appellant gave a cautioned statement in relation to a charge for being in unlawful possession of a revolver and five rounds of ammunition.
The statement, which was admitted without challenge read as follows:

The said revolver does not belong to me. It belongs to the deceased Tuan Rajab. I found the revolver in his blue handbag. Later, I placed it in a plastic bag and kept it at my flat at Blk 151, Serangoon North Ave 2, #02-41. After abandoning the body of the deceased in Tampines, I returned home. Sometime in the afternoon, I brought the revolver, which was in the blue handbag, to my mother-in-law`s flat at Blk 466, Ang Mo Kio Ave 10. I do not know the unit number of this flat. I had no intention to use it.

The appellant testified that he had known the deceased since 1990.
The appellant was an informer of the CNB and they shared the payments which he received from the CNB. They saw each other socially. Documentary proof consisting of entries in exercise books were produced to show that the deceased and the appellant were involved in horse betting activities. Punters would place bets with them and they would also bet against each other. The appellant claims that, over the years, he had made loans to the deceased totalling $40,000.

On weekends, they would gamble against each other at the Turf Club.
In the normal course of events, these betting debts would be settled on the following Monday or Tuesday. On the weekend of 6 and 7 March 1993, the appellant lost $4,730 to the deceased. The deceased telephoned him on 7 March 1993 and asked for the money to be paid that same night. The appellant was unable to do so and requested time to pay up. The deceased said that he needed the money as he was also losing, presumably to others. The deceased told the appellant to get the money by that night, and that he would call again the following day. The appellant tried to get the money that night and the following day but was unsuccessful. At 6pm on 8 March 1993, the appellant told the deceased who had paged him that he had been unable to raise the money. The deceased told the appellant to get the money by that night. That evening, the appellant was painting his flat; his wife had left to stay...

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3 books & journal articles
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