Wong Sin Yee v Public Prosecutor

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeFoo Chee Hock
Judgment Date26 February 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] SGDC 59
Citation[2001] SGDC 59
Published date19 September 2003


Grounds of Decision

1. The accused claimed trial to 2 charges respectively under s 13A of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Amended Act (Cap 184) and s 323 of the Penal Code (Cap 224). The specific charges are set out below

P1A PS 2311/2000


NRIC No, S 1328846-A

are charged that you, on the 26th day of December 1998, at or about 7.30 pm, along South Bridge Road, Singapore, which is a public place, with intent to cause alarm to Chou Siew Kee, did use insulting words towards the said Chou Siew Kee, to wit, by shouting, "why called your father, call Lee Kuan Yew or the Fucking Police" thereby causing alarm to the said Chou Siew Kee, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under section 13A(1)(a) of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order & Nuisance) Amended Act, 1996 Edition, Chapter 184."

P2 PS 2312/2000


NRIC No. S 1328846-A

are charged that you on the 26th day of December 1998, at or about 7.30 pm, along South Bridge Road, Singapore did voluntarily cause hurt to one Mok Gok Keong, M/30 yrs, by hitting him on his mouth using your handphone, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under section 323 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224."


2. Before the trial could commence, the accused made a preliminary application for stay of the proceedings, alleging that in proceeding with this matter, the prosecution was acting in "abuse of process". The gist of the accuseds complaint lay in the representations made by the former Investigating Officer, one Sgt Pun Kok Keong (PW1, hereafter, "Sgt Pun") to the accused. The prosecution challenged the factual allegations of the accused and hence it was necessary to lead oral evidence and for the court to make a factual determination


3. The accused alleged that following police investigations into the above charges and after giving "negative statements", Sgt Pun called him on the phone sometime in mid-1999 and asked him to go to the police station for further investigations. He did so a few days later. At the station, he was asked by Sgt Pun whether he was willing to compound the matter and he replied "Yes". Sgt Pun then told the accused that he (Sgt Pun) would look into the matter and revert.

4. Around April 2000, Sgt Pun telephoned the accused. He "told me that he wanted to close my file as he would be leaving the Force by the end of the month. He told me that the complainant (PW2, Mr Mok Gok Keong) was willing to settle and compound the matter if I was willing to do 2 things". The two conditions were the payment of $1000 and an apology from the accused. The accused replied that he was willing to accept the terms. The accused then asked Sgt Pun to enquire if Mr Mok would accept $500 instead. Sgt Pun replied that he would speak to Mr Mok about it.

5. About 2 or 3 weeks later, following Sgt Puns request, the accused attended at the police station for "the 2 May 2000 meeting". He alleged that Sgt Pun had asked him whether he was willing to compound the matter and he replied in the positive. Sgt Pun then spoke to Mr Mok. The accused had asked Mr Mok whether he was willing to accept $500. When Mr Mok refused, the accused paid him the $1000 and apologised to him. After that they shook hands, everything being done in Sgt Puns presence. Mr Mok signed a statement while the accused was outside Sgt Puns office. When he left, Sgt Pun had told the accused that, "OK, everything was over, the matter is closed and you can go home now." The accused was so "glad and relieved", believing that there would be no prosecution in this matter.


6. Sgt Pun took over the investigations in mid-1999. He could not recollect the details of the investigation prior to the beginning of year 2000. His evidence was that at one of the meetings at the police station at the beginning of last year, it was the accused who raised the question of composition, passed him 2 name cards and asked him to relay his (the accuseds) intention to Mr Mok and his wife (Ms Chou Siew Kee, PW3 in the main trial). Sgt Pun did that when recording Mr Moks further statement and had explained that it would be for Mr Mok to decide. Mr Mok indicated that he was prepared to compound and that he would go back to decide on the terms. He told Sgt Pun the terms when the latter called him up to fix the appointment, leading to the 2 May 2000 meeting. Mr Mok indicated his terms over the phone and Sgt Pun told him to relay the terms directly to the accused at the 2 May 2000 meeting. Sgt Pun had conveyed Mr Moks intention of compensation at $1000 to the accused before the meeting, again telling the accused that he should talk about the terms with Mr Mok at the meeting itself.

7. On to the 2 May 2000 meeting, the material aspects of Sgt Puns testimony were:

i. That he told Mr Mok (in Ms Chous presence) that he (Sgt Pun) would not be involved in any terms or conditions that they might raise with the accused;

ii. The accused then came into the room and asked that the compensation be reduced to $500. Upon Mr Moks insistence on $1000, the accused took out a stack of cash, counted it and handed $1000 to Mr Mok;

iii. Sgt Pun then told the accused to wait outside while he recorded the payment of $1000 compensation in Mr Moks further statement. He also told Mr Mok that depending on the final decision, Mr Mok may still be required to be a witness for the prosecution;

iv. Mr Moks willingness to be a witness was recorded in his statement;

v. Mr Mok and Ms Chou then left and the accused came into the room. The events that transpired were documented and Sgt Pun told the accused "that the case would be forwarded to the Attorney-Generals Chambers (hereafter, "the AGC") for their consideration, and that he (the accused) would be duly informed". The accused did not object or demand to have his money back. He was willing to wait for a decision to be made;

vi. Sgt Pun categorically denied telling the accused that "the matter was closed" or he "wanted to close this case"; neither did Sgt Pun even reveal his intention about leaving the Police Force.


8. After carefully scrutinising the evidence, I was of the firm view that the accuseds testimony in the preliminary issue could not be relied upon.

9. To begin, the accused made out a sympathetic case for himself by suggesting that Sgt Pun was in a hurry to "close the file" since he (Sgt Pun) was leaving the Police Force. On further examination, one was led inexorably to conclude that this was no compelling reason for Sgt Pun to offer composition to the accused. As far as Sgt Pun was concerned, within the scope of his duties and authority, he had indeed finished his part of the job, when he completed his investigations and referred the matter to the AGC. It was not suggested that it was Sgt Puns duty to do the prosecution as well. In acceding to the accuseds request to see Mr Mok and offer the composition, that probably occasioned more work for Sgt Pun.

10. The next pertinent factor was that Sgt Pun was certain that the accused was the one who raised the idea of composition. This contrasted with the accuseds evasive answers when the prosecution confronted him with the issue of who had initiated the settlement process with Mr Mok. Yet in the accuseds examination-in-chief, he attempted to give the impression that he was led by the police (in particular, Sgt Puns hurry to "close [his] file") to compound the matter.

11. As a lawyer who had represented others in criminal cases before, the accused could not deny knowing that the decision to proceed and ultimately what charge on which to proceed, lay with the Public Prosecutor. Given his knowledge of the law and the system, if his evidence was true, in particular that Sgt Pun represented that "his matter was over and his case was closed", the accused would have sought written confirmation of the position. Instead when confronted with why he had not done so, the accused embellished his testimony by adding that "the Investigating Officer told me he had approval from higher authority" (that the case was "over"). This was incredible and was tantamount to suggesting that the Investigating Officer had such a compelling interest in closing this case, that he had to add this totally gratuitous statement to persuade the accused that everything was indeed over! When given the opportunity, the accused refused to elaborate on the circumstances leading to the Investigating Officer making this statement. In my judgment, I was convinced that Sgt Pun had never made such a statement, and the accused was not truthful in this regard.

12. Defence counsel ingeniously suggested that the accused did not seek written confirmation that there would be no prosecution because he trusted the police. However, that was never the accuseds evidence (discussed above).

13. I also considered that Sgt Pun had no interest to lie in this case, since he had already left the Police Force, and would not be subject to departmental action if he had committed a mistake. His stakes were much higher, and he faced serious consequences as a civilian if he committed perjury in this trial. That the accused felt the heavy burden of the impending prosecution was only too apparent from his evidence ("like a stone in my heart"). He was aware of the serious consequences of the offence, the probable publicity and the implications on his career. I found that the accused had a dominant motive, and was prepared, to be economical with the truth to make this prosecution go away.

14. The most telling contradiction of the accuseds evidence came from Mr Moks testimony that after recording his statement that he had received the $1000 compensation, "Sgt Pun repeatedly said that even though I had taken the compensation from the accused, the police had the right to prosecute the accused". I found that...

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