Siti Hajar bte Abdullah v Public Prosecutor

JurisdictionSingapore
Judgment Date14 February 2006
Date14 February 2006
Docket NumberMagistrate's Appeal No 118 of 2005
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Siti Hajar bte Abdullah
Plaintiff
and
Public Prosecutor
Defendant

[2006] SGHC 24

Yong Pung How CJ

Magistrate's Appeal No 118 of 2005

High Court

Criminal Procedure and Sentencing–Sentencing–Disqualification order–Accused permitting use of car without valid third-party insurance–Whether any “special reasons” warranting exemption from mandatory disqualification–Section 3 (3) Motor Vehicles (Third-Party Risks and Compensation) Act (Cap 189, 2000 Rev Ed)

The appellant was convicted for allowing her cousin, one Muhammad Yazid bin Ahmad Mashon (“Yazid”), to drive her car without valid third-party risks insurance. Yazid did not have a valid licence, and therefore was not covered by any insurance policy. The appellant was sentenced to a fine and one year's disqualification from driving. In the present proceedings, she sought a reduction of the period of disqualification, claiming that there were “special reasons” to exempt her from the mandatory one-year period of disqualification under s 3 (3) of the Motor Vehicles (Third-Party Risks and Compensation) Act (Cap 189, 2000 Rev Ed) (“the MVA”).

First, the appellant claimed that she had been unwell on the day the offence took place, and that asking Yazid to drive her was the only feasible means of getting to a doctor. Second, she pleaded ignorance to the fact that Yazid did not have a valid licence, and therefore no valid insurance coverage. Third, she relied upon the fact that she needed her licence to ferry her elderly grandparents for religious and medical purposes.

Held, dismissing the appeal:

(1) The test for “special reasons” within the meaning of s 3 (3) of the MVA was a stringent one and would only be satisfied in exceptional circumstances. The MVA had to be construed strictly in order to preserve its policy of protecting road users. A less restrictive approach would render the legislative stipulation of mandatory disqualification nugatory and defeat its underlying objectives: at [8].

(2) The appellant's alleged need for medical attention at the time of the offence did not qualify as a “special reason” excusing her from disqualification under s 3 (3) of the MVA. First, the appellant did not produce a scintilla of evidence to support the urgency of her need for medical assistance. Second, the appellant had not shown that she did not have any other viable modes of transport to bring her to a doctor. An emergency could not be a “special reason” under s 3 (3) unless the only reasonable option was to use a vehicle without valid third-party risks insurance: at [11], [12], [13] and [16].

(3) The appellant's mistaken belief that Yazid had a valid licence, and therefore that he was validly insured, was not a “special reason” justifying non-imposition of disqualification. Such a mistaken belief could only be a “special reason” if it was both innocent as well as based on reasonable grounds. The appellant's belief could hardly be said to be reasonable since it stemmed from her omission to seek Yazid's confirmation that he had a licence, though it would have taken minimal effort to do so: at [19] and [20].

(4) The appellant's need to ferry her elderly grandparents, which was a circumstance referable to her particular situation, was not a “special reason” under s 3 (3) of the MVA. A “special reason” would have to relate to the commission of the offence and not to the circumstance of the offender. The fact that disqualification would cause the appellant hardship, in the form of greater expense and inconvenience, was insufficient to dispense with mandatory disqualification: at [21] and [22].

Chua Chye Tiong v PP [2004] 1 SLR (R) 22; [2004] 1 SLR 22 (folld)

Kanapathipillai, Re [1960] MLJ 243 (folld)

Knowler v Rennison [1947] 1 KB 488 (refd)

Muniandy, Re [1954] MLJ 168 (folld)

MV Balakrishnan v PP [1998] 2 SLR (R) 846; [1998] 3 SLR 586 (folld)

PP v Mohd Isa [1963] MLJ 135 (folld)

Sivakumar s/o Rajoo v PP [2002] 1 SLR (R) 265; [2002] 2 SLR 73 (folld)

Sriekaran s/o Thanka Samy v PP [1998] 3 SLR (R) 1; [1998] 3 SLR 402 (folld)

Stewart Ashley James v PP [1996] 3 SLR (R) 106; [1996] 3 SLR 426 (folld)

Whittall v Kirby [1947] 1 KB 194 (folld)

Motor Vehicles (Third-Party Risks and Compensation) Act (Cap 189, 2000 Rev Ed) s 3 (3) (consd);s 3 (1)

The appellant in person

Lee Lit Cheng (Deputy Public Prosecutor) for the respondent.

Yong Pung How CJ

1 This was an appeal against sentence, in particular, a disqualification order imposed for violating the requirement of third-party risks insurance under the Motor Vehicles (Third-Party Risks and Compensation) Act (Cap 189, 2000 Rev Ed) (“the MVA”). The appellant, a 23-year-old female, was the registered owner of an “off-peak” car SFJ 9025 X (“the car”) at all material times. The relevant charge against the appellant read:

That you, on 27.10.2004, at about 4.50pm at Jalan Anak Bukit Slip Road into Pan- Island Expressway, did permit the use of the motor car no. SFJ 9025 X when there was not in force in relation to the user of the said vehicle such a policy of insurance in respect of third party risks as complies with the requirement of the Motor Vehicles (Third Party Risks & Compensation) Act, Chapter 189 and you have thereby committed an offence under section 3 (1) and punishable under section 3 (2) of the said Act, Chapter 189.

The appellant pleaded...

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16 cases
  • Public Prosecutor v Rozilawaty binte Eddy Rosmanah
    • Singapore
    • District Court (Singapore)
    • 3 d5 Abril d5 2020
    ...stipulation of mandatory disqualification and defeat its underlying objectives: Siti Hajar bte Abdullah v Public Prosecutor [2006] 2 SLR(R) 248 at [8]. Widening the special reasons exception would encourage frivolous defences: Muhammad Faizal bin Rahim at [41]. (See also Tan Yock Lin and S.......
  • Prathib s/o M Balan v PP
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    ...SGDC 243 (refd) PP v Xu Feng Jia [2016] SGDC 160 (refd) Rajendar Prasad Rai v PP [2017] 5 SLR 796 (refd) Siti Hajar bte Abdullah v PP [2006] 2 SLR(R) 248; [2006] 2 SLR 248 (refd) Sivakumar s/o Rajoo v PP [2002] 1 SLR(R) 265; [2002] 2 SLR 73 (refd) Stewart Ashley James v PP [1996] 3 SLR(R) 1......
  • Muhammad Faizal
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    ...[2008] SGDC 262 (refd) Re Kanapathipillai [1960] MLJ 243 (refd) Robertson v M'Ginn [1956] SLT 246 (refd) Siti Hajar bte Abdullah v PP [2006] 2 SLR (R) 248; [2006] 2 SLR 248 (folld) Sivakumar s/o Rajoo v PP [2002] 1 SLR (R) 265; [2002] 2 SLR 73 (folld) Sriekaran s/o Thanka Samy v PP [1998] 3......
  • Public Prosecutor v Joye Goh Hui Ci
    • Singapore
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    • 22 d1 Maio d1 2023
    ...stipulation of mandatory disqualification and defeat its underlying objectives: Siti Hajar bte Abdullah v Public Prosecutor [2006] 2 SLR(R) 248 at [8]. Finally, widening the special reasons exception would encourage frivolous defences: Muhammad Faizal bin Rahim at [41]. (See also Tan Yock L......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Criminal Procedure, Evidence and Sentencing
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2006, December 2006
    • 1 d5 Dezembro d5 2006
    ...which would include contacting the police or taking other forms of transport such as the taxi. 12.42 In Siti Hajar bte Abdullah v PP[2006] 2 SLR 248, the appellant who had allowed her cousin to drive her car without third-party risks insurance attempted to argue that ‘special reasons exist’......

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