Verghese Alan v Public Prosecutor

CourtMagistrates' Court (Singapore)
JudgeAdam Nakhoda
Published date19 September 2003

JUDGMENT:

Grounds of Decision

THE CHARGE

1. The accused Verghese Alan claimed trial to the following two amended charges, marked P1A and P2A respectively;

"You,

VERGHESE ALAN, MALE 59 YEARS OLD

NRIC NO: S 0535714D

"are charged that you, on the 29th day of September 1999, at or about 10.45 p.m., at Blk. 295 Bedok South Avenue 3 #13-07, Bedok Court, Singapore, did display to a public servant one Police Constable Mohamed Sadri, in the execution of his duty, an abusive sign, to wit, by showing your middle finger with your right hand, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 13D(1)(b) of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, Chapter 184.

You,

VERGHESE ALAN, MALE 59 YEARS OLD

NRIC NO: S 0535714D

"are charged that you, on the 29th day of September 1999, from 7.00 p.m. till 10.26 p.m., at Blk 295 Bedok South Avenue 3 #13-07, Bedok Court, Singapore, did turn on your hi-fi in a manner causing noise, and caused annoyance to one Satish s/o R L Bukhgda, a resident of Bedok Court, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 14(1) of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, Chapter 184.

2. After a two-day trial, I found the accused guilty on the two charges and he was accordingly convicted. I fined him, on MAC 2447 of 2000 (P1A), a sum of $3,000 in default of which he would serve a sentence of three weeks imprisonment. I fined him, on MAC 3723 of 2000 (P2A), a sum of $600 in default of which he would serve a sentence of one week's imprisonment. The accused has paid the fines.

THE PROSECUTION'S CASE

3. The case for the Prosecution is based on the evidence of PW1 Corporal Mohamed Sadri Bin Farich (hereinafter "Cpl. Sadri"), PW2 Lek Yi Siang (hereinafter "Lek") and PW3 Satish s/o R.L. Bukhgda (hereinafter "Satish").

A. Facts not in contention

4. There is no dispute that on the 29th of September 1999 at or about 10.30 p.m., the police were called to Bedok Court in response to a complainant of noise pollution. On arrival Cpl. Sadri was met by Satish and his wife and they both proceeded to the playground/swimming pool area. It is in contention as to whether Cpl. Sadri and Satish heard any loud music whilst at this area as the accused denies playing loud music on the day in question.

5. Cpl. Sadri at some point proceeds to the accused's house and after making his presence known, it is in dispute as to the method employed by Cpl. Sadri to announce his presence, there was an incident between Cpl. Sadri and the accused. Beyond these few facts everything else is not agreed.

B. Corporal Mohamed Sadri bin Farich's (PW1) evidence

6. Cpl. Sadris account has to be distilled from his evidence-in-chief, his cross-examination and his re-examination as well as from questions put to him by the Court. In examination-in-chief Cpl. Sadri did not give the full account of what had occurred on the night in question. However, he explained more fully what had occurred during his cross-examination.

7. Cpl. Sadri says that he received a report of a complaint of noise pollution at Bedok Court at about 10.26 p.m. It was also his evidence that he had been dispatched to attend to a complaint of noise pollution coming from the accuseds unit on 2 occasions including the occasion on the 29th of September 1999. In cross-examination he said that the accused had been uncooperative on the previous occasion that he had dealt with him.

8. He proceeded to Bedok Court where he met Satish and they both went to the swimming pool area. Cpl. Sadri says that it was Satish who told him that the music was coming from unit #13-03. He further says the following, (at page 2 of the Notes of Evidence),

"Court:Did you hear the music at the swimming pool area?

A. I was standing in the center of the swimming pool area and I heard very loud music being played. So we went up to unit #14-07, the occupant is Mr. Lek Chye Seng. Mr. Leks son opened the door and let me in to hear the loud music from the window.

I confirmed that the music comes from #13-07. I proceeded down to #13-07 with the Complainant"

9. In cross-examination Cpl. Sadri said that from the swimming pool area he could confirm that the music was coming from Block 295 but not the actual unit. Cpl. Sadri said that he proceeded to unit #14-07 because from the swimming pool area he could only see two units with lights on in Block 295 and that was #13-07 and #14-07. He said that he did not go to unit #14-07 because Satish had suggested it.

10. At Mr. Leks house at #14-07, Cpl. Sadri says he confirmed that the music was coming from unit #13-07, his evidence, in cross-examination, is as follows, (at page 5 of the Notes of Evidence),

"Q. You say you went to #14-07 and Leks son opened the door. What happened when you knocked?

A. Lek and his family asked me why I was there? I told him I am attending to a case of noise being played around here I asked for permission to check #14-07.

When the allowed me to go in, the son showed me the way to his room to hear and see a loud speaker facing the condominium that was where the sound came from.

Q. Describe the speakers you saw?

A. From what I saw it is black in color and it is a speaker and very loud sound coming from it because it was not very far from where I am.

Q. Was it a room you were looking at?

A. I cannot confirm. It was a window. No one puts speakers like that."

11. Upon confirming that the music is coming from unit #13-07 he then proceeds with Satish to that unit.

12. Cpl. Sadri says that after he rang the doorbell, which is located at the side of the picket fence gate (see exhibit D1), three or four times he proceeded to the front door to knock on the door. All this while Satish remained at the picket fence gate.

13. After a couple of knocks the accused opened the door. In evidence-in-chief the Cpl. Sadri says that the accused then shouted at him to "shut up" and to "go to hell". Following which Cpl. Sadri says, in evidence-in-chief, that the accused did the following, (at page 3 of the Notes of Evidence),

"A. After that he pointed his middle finger of his right hand showing disrespect to my uniform and slammed the door. I took the sign he showed me as an abusive sign. From what I understand the sign means, "Fuck You"."

14. In cross-examination Cpl. Sadri elaborates on his evidence, in that after the accused opened the door he gestured at the accused with a clenched fist with his thumb pointing forward and as he was trying to introduce himself as an officer from Bedok Police Station, the accused shouted at him. At this point Cpl. Sadri says he then moved closer and gestured with his index finger pointed up and said to the accused, (at page 9 of the Notes of Evidence), "Sir, please lower the volume."

15

. Cpl. Sadri also says that he saw the accuseds family laughing and making fun of him from inside the flat, though he was unable to hear what they were saying to him

16. Later in examination-in-chief Cpl. Sadri says that the accused also told him to "get out of my compound" (at page 11 of the Notes of Evidence). He says that whilst the accused said this he was pointing at Cpl. Sadri with his index finger. The accused then showed him the middle finger. The accused then closed the door on Cpl. Sadri. He then waited outside the picket gate for about 5 minutes, the loud music died down and he made a call to his Operations Room. By this time Satish had already left.

17. It was Cpl. Sadris evidence that the music coming from unit #13-07 was a mixture of English songs and other songs in other languages that he did not understand.

C. Lek Yi Siangs (PW3) evidence

18. Lek Yi Siang (hereinafter "PW3") confirmed that at the time the police came to his flat at #14-07 there was "loud music blasting from #13-07", (at page 16 of the Notes of Evidence). He said that the music sounded like Indian music. He said that the police officer and Satish had come to his flat to verify where the music was coming from. In cross-examination, PW3 said that he took the police officer to his room and his sisters room in order for the police officer to look out the window to ascertain where the music was coming from.

D. Satish s/o R.L. Bukhgdas (PW4) evidence

19. Satish said that he started calling the police around 7.00 p.m. on the 29th of September 1999 to complain about the loud Indian noise that was coming from Block 295. He says that the police finally arrived at about 10.30 p.m. and his wife and he met Cpl. Sadri at the playground. Satish says that he did not know the exact location of the music when the police arrived. From the playground they saw that in Block 295 there were only two units with lights on, one on the 14th floor and another on the 13th floor. It is his evidence that he had a strong hunch as to where the music was coming from but he could not pinpoint its exact location until he had gone to unit #14-07 to confirm.

20. Satish and Sadri proceeded to the flat on the 14th floor, unit #14-07, where they ascertained that the music was coming from the flat below, unit #13-07. Cpl. Sadri, Satish and his wife proceeded down to unit #13-07. When they arrived outside the accused's flat Satish said he heard the music only vaguely from the corridor. He says this is because the music was focussed towards block 299.

21. Cpl. Sadri rang the bell and when there was no response he climbed over the picket fence and knocked on the accuseds door. Satish says that the accused then said and did the following, (at page 18 of the Notes of Evidence),

"Q.

A. We then proceeded to the below unit #13-07 and the policeman pressed the bell. There was no answer so he climbed over the half gate and went to knock the door. When that happened they opened the door and started howling bad words at the policeman and showed him the middle finger. And then he slammed the door

Q. You mentioned Accused saying bad words. What were they?

A. "Bastard". A Chinese bad word "Chee Bye"...

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