Wan Kim Hock v Public Prosecutor

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Judgment Date10 December 2002
Docket NumberMagistrate's Appeal No 29 of 2002
Date10 December 2002

[2002] SGHC 296

High Court

Yong Pung How CJ

Magistrate's Appeal No 29 of 2002

Wan Kim Hock
Plaintiff
and
Public Prosecutor
Defendant

Tang Gee Ni (Chia & Tang) for the appellant

GKannan (Deputy Public Prosecutor) for the respondent.

Kuek Ah Lek v PP [1995] 2 SLR (R) 766; [1995] 3 SLR 252 (distd)

PP v Azman bin Abdullah [1998] 2 SLR (R) 351; [1998] 2 SLR 704 (folld)

Soong Hee Sin v PP [2001] 1 SLR (R) 475; [2001] 2 SLR 253 (distd)

Penal Code (Cap 224, 1985 Rev Ed) s 408

Criminal Procedure and Sentencing–Appeal–Findings of fact–Approach of appellate court–Criminal Procedure and Sentencing–Sentencing–Effect of sentencing precedents–Criminal Procedure and Sentencing–Sentencing–Factors to be considered–Effect of claiming trial on sentencing–Lack of antecedents weighed against aggravating factors

The appellant, a finance administration manager of a company, was in charge of the company's petty cash account. Discrepancies, and subsequently a shortfall of $15,000, were discovered in the petty cash account. The appellant denied having taken the money and claimed trial. He was convicted on one charge of criminal breach of trust under s 408 of the Penal Code (Cap 224, 1985 Rev Ed) and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 14 months. He appealed against his conviction and the sentence imposed.

Held, dismissing the appeal against conviction and affirming the sentence:

(1) Given the ample evidence supporting the trial judge's findings of fact, and the principle that an appellate court should be slow to overturn such findings, particularly where they depended on an assessment of the credibility and veracity of the various witnesses, there was no reason to overturn the trial judge's decision in this case: at [15], [16] and [24].

(2) In sentencing, there was no authority for the proposition that the court could never take into account the fact that the appellant had claimed trial. However, where the appellant claimed trial for valid reasons such as a viable defence, he should not be prejudiced for doing so: at [26] and [27].

(3) The process of sentencing was a matter of law that involved manifold factors such that no two cases would ever be totally identical for the purposes of sentencing. While past cases were helpful in providing guidelines, the court, in sentencing the offender, had to look to each case on its unique facts: at [28].

(4) The fact that the appellant had no previous convictions, while normally forceful, had to be balanced against any aggravating factors present: at [30].

Yong Pung How CJ

Introduction

1 The appellant was convicted on one charge of criminal breach of trust under s 408 of the Penal Code (Cap 224). He appealed against his conviction and sentence. I dismissed his appeal and now give my reasons.

Background

2 The appellant was the Finance Administration Manager of Stoval Technologies (“Stoval”). He had two other staff and a part-time assistant under him as well as the Human Resource Department to support him. He was placed in charge of the petty cash account in August 2000 when Karen, one of Stoval's accounts executives, resigned. He remained in charge of the petty cash account until he resigned in December 2000.

The Prosecution's case

3 In early December 2000, a new accounting software was installed at Stoval. As a result, Choo Len, another of Stoval's accounts executives, discovered some discrepancies in the petty cash account. She informed Alex, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Stoval.

4...

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31 cases
  • Thong Sing Hock v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 2 March 2009
    ...While not articulated at length, the Singapore courts have recognised a lack of remorse as an aggravating factor. In Wan Kim Hock v PP [2003] 1 SLR 410, Yong CJ noted at [30] Lastly, I noted that in mitigation, it could only be said of the appellant that he had no previous antecedents. This......
  • Lim Teck Chye v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 14 April 2004
    ...to offset the aggravating factors present and the fact that the appellant had been convicted of multiple offences: Wan Kim Hock v PP [2003] 1 SLR 410, Chen Weixiong Jerriek v PP [2003] 2 SLR 334. In any case, the appellant has not provided such distinguished public service or services of su......
  • Dinesh Singh Bhatia s/o Amarjeet Singh v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 5 April 2005
    ...for so as to single it out and to nip its spread in the bud. Reliance on benchmarks and tariffs in sentencing 21 In Wan Kim Hock v PP [2003] 1 SLR 410 at [28], Yong Pung How CJ The process of sentencing is a matter of law that involves manifold factors such that no two cases would ever be t......
  • Viswanathan Ramachandran v Public Prosecutor
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 26 August 2003
    ...factor is normally of some value, this must be weighed against the other aggravating factors present: Wan Kim Hock v Public Prosecutor [2003] 1 SLR 410. As for the second factor, I had little hesitation in dismissing it as our Courts have only looked to ill health as a mitigating factor in ......
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