Sim Eng Teck v Public Prosecutor

CourtCourt of Three Judges (Singapore)
JudgeKarthigesu JA
Judgment Date01 August 1998
Neutral Citation[1998] SGCA 45
Citation[1998] SGCA 45
Docket NumberCriminal Appeal No 5 of 1998
Defendant CounselLee Sing Lit (Deputy Public Prosecutor)
Published date19 September 2003
Plaintiff CounselMervyn Tan and Kumari Prabha Dube (Kertar & Co)
Date01 August 1998
Subject MatterBalance of probabilities that intoxication caused appellant to be incapable of forming intention for offence,Intoxication,s 86(2) Penal Code (Cap 224),Appellant's burden of proof,Whether evidence of appellant's intoxicated state at material time,General Defences,Criminal Law,Objective inquiry


(delivering the grounds of judgment of the court)

The charge against the appellant was as follows:

That you, Sim Eng Teck, on or about 23 May 1996, at about 3.06am, at Pacific Plaza, Claymore Hill, Singapore, did commit murder by causing the death of one Benny Probocemdana Oen, male aged 38 years, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under s 302 of the Penal Code (Cap 224).

2.The appellant was an unemployed 19 year old who purchased Ecstasy pills from the deceased. According to the appellant, their first transaction was three months before the ill-fated day. The appellant also said that the deceased had borrowed $500 from him within the first month of their meeting. He had promised to repay the money a few days later. However, despite the appellant`s demands, the debt remained unpaid. Their last meeting was sometime on or about 15 May 1996. On that occasion, the appellant had quarrelled with the deceased about the loan and had accused the deceased of selling him fake Ecstasy pills.

3.The appellant did not see the deceased again until the night of 22 May 1996. The appellant began the night at Sparks discotheque in Ngee Ann City along Orchard Road where he had several drinks. Around 10pm he headed for Studebaker`s, a discotheque in Pacific Plaza off Scotts Road. At the ground level entrance, he caught sight of the deceased. The deceased and his friend Tio Seng Khun alias Herman Susantio (Susantio) had gone to Studebaker`s to join other friends who, like themselves, were `regulars` there.

4.In view of their recent quarrel, the appellant avoided the deceased. He returned to Sparks and had more to drink. However the more he drank, the angrier he grew with the deceased. He decided to teach the deceased a lesson. At around 1am, the appellant left Sparks and went to Lower Delta Road to collect a knife which he had. Having retrieved the knife, the appellant called Azdre Azad (Azad), also known as `Sua Huan Kia` or `Allan`, on Azad`s handphone to ask Azad where he was. Azad told him he was at Studebaker`s. The appellant told Azad that he was going to Studebaker`s to teach someone a lesson. He told Azad not to get himself involved when he confronted the person at Studebaker`s. The appellant then took a taxi to Pacific Plaza.

5.It was shortly after 3am on the morning of 23 May 1996 when the appellant alighted at the Scotts Road entrance leading to Pacific Plaza. At about the same time Susantio and the deceased took the lift to the ground floor. There they waited for the car jockey to drive the deceased`s car to the waiting area. The appellant, knife in hand, went towards the deceased as the latter was in a conversation on his handphone. Teh Chwee Lee testified that at the material time the deceased had called her on her handphone and had informed her that he was at the ground floor of Studebaker`s and would be going to her home soon. All of a sudden, the line went dead.

6.The deceased was stabbed in the head and neck region, on the back of his right shoulder and sustained an injury across the palm of his left hand when he tried to grab the knife. He suffered three blows from the appellant`s knife in quick succession.

7.Someone shouted `Ar Sio Park` which meant that there was a fight going on. Susantio heard a `piak` sound and turned towards the direction of this sound. He saw the deceased slumped on the floor. The deceased was using his hand to press the back of his head. As Susantio made his way towards the deceased, he saw a man hurriedly walking away from the deceased. When he reached the deceased, he noticed that the deceased was bleeding and that his little finger was almost severed. Susantio`s attention quickly returned to the fleeing figure. He saw the man running up Claymore Hill with a bag tucked under his left arm. Although Susantio only saw the back of the man, he noticed that the man was wearing a white cap and white sports shoes. The deceased then asked Susantio to pull him up. Susantio supported the deceased as they boarded a taxi and headed for the hospital.

8.The deceased arrived at the Singapore General Hospital in a collapsed state with no blood pressure or pulse rate recordable. Blood was oozing from his injuries and attempts to resuscitate the deceased failed. He was pronounced dead at 3.50am on the morning of 23 May 1996.

9.The post-mortem report of Dr Gilbert Lau, consultant forensic pathologist, stated that the deceased had suffered one fatal injury. This was a deep gaping laceration, measuring 13cm x 4cm, obliquely across the back of the left side of the deceased`s head extending down into the upper part of the neck. The blow had slashed the ear first and thereafter gone downwards slicing through the bone behind the ear. The left vertebral artery had been cut. The cause of death was found to be severe acute haemorrhage resulting from a deep incised wound to the back of the head and the adjacent part of the neck. Dr Lau also noted two other injuries. The second serious but less fatal injury was a deep gaping incised wound measuring 10cm in length obliquely across the palm of the left hand. It had nearly amputated the deceased`s left hand. This was found to be a defensive injury in that the deceased had used his left hand to ward off a blow. This in itself would not ordinarily have been fatal. The third injury was a superficial incised wound on the back of the right shoulder.

10.In Dr Lau`s view, the injuries were consistent with their having been inflicted by means of a heavy object with a sharp edge, such as a chopper or a cleaver or a similar object. The fatal injury was inflicted by a downward blow from left to right. This had deeply incised the muscles of the upper part of the back of the neck and had also sliced into and fractured the left ear structure. This injury had also damaged the left vertebral artery, which is a major blood vessel supplying blood to the vital centres of the brain. In Dr Lau`s opinion, this would have caused severe haemorrhage and death would probably have occurred within...

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2 cases
  • S Nagarajan s/o Kuppusamy v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • February 1, 1999
    ...of forming any intention for the offence: Suradet v PP [1993] 3 SLR 265 , Indra Wijaya Ibrahim v PP [1995] 2 SLR 442 , Sim Eng Teck v PP [1998] 3 SLR 618 . The essence of the appellant`s ground of appeal was that the trial judge was wrong in concluding that the appellant had not proved on a......
  • Public Prosecutor v Chai Meng Teck
    • Singapore
    • District Court (Singapore)
    • April 11, 2019
    ...the accused had been interrogated, handcuffed, deprived of his belongings, and starved. In Chia Chien Wei Kelvin v Public Prosecutor [1998] 3 SLR (R) 64, Yong Pung How, CJ delivering the judgment of the court defined oppression (at [56]-[57]) as follows:- 56 Oppression is a circumstance whi......
1 books & journal articles
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Journal Nbr. 2005, December 2005
    • December 1, 2005
    ...did not appeal against the High Court’s judgment. The Ow Ah Cheng approach was applied by the Court of Appeal in Sim Eng Teck v PP[1998] 3 SLR 618. 18 Supra n 6. 19 Interestingly, the Ow Ah Cheng decision was rendered only 14 days after the Court of Appeal’s decision in Tan Joo Cheng. The t......

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