Written by: Marcus Chia Hao Jun
Organised by the Attorney-General’s Chambers, in conjunction with the Singapore Management University (SMU)’s Moot Court Club and the National University of Singapore (NUS)’s Mooting and Debating Club. (29 August 2019)*
Since its inception in 2011, the Attorney-General’s Cup – the brainchild of former Attorney-General, Professor Walter Woon, SC – has played an instrumental role in introducing law undergraduates to the intricacies of criminal law.
Now in its 9th edition, the 2019 finals were held at SMU School of Law’s state-of-the-art David Marshall Moot Court. Deputy Attorney-General Mr. Hri Kumar Nair SC, the Honourable Justice Mr. Kannan Ramesh, and the Honourable Judicial Commissioner Ms. Mavis Chionh all kindly served as the Bench.
The competition scenario concerned charges brought under section 278 of the “Pland Penal Code” (which contains provisions similar to that of the Singapore Penal Code). Specifically, section 278 provides for criminal sanctions for the offence of “making atmosphere noxious to health of persons in general”. D2, a corporation, was charged under section 278. Its director and sole owner, D, was also charged for abetment of the offence committed by D2. At first instance, a conviction was secured for D2, while D received an acquittal. This AG Cup concerned the appeal to this decision
Two issues were raised on appeal. The first concerned jurisdiction, as D2’s factory, from which the noxious fumes were emitted, was located in the Republic of Dland, while the charges were being pursued in Pland. The second concerned whether D, the sole director and owner of D2, could have “instigated” D2 to commit certain acts.
Mr. Wang Qiyu and Mr. Abhishek Srivastava (NUS) argued for the Appellants, D2 and D. Mr. Li Zizheng and Ms. Carissa Low (SMU) argued for the Respondents, the Republic of Pland.
Mr. Wang argued that the High Court lacked jurisdiction over the case, and further argued that D2 ought to be acquitted of the charge. Mr. Li responded that air pollution knows no boundaries, and that the effects of the air pollution had been felt in Pland although they had been emitted in Dland.
Mr. Srivastava then argued that D2 and D were one and the same, while Ms. Low argued that D should be held accountable for his transgressions.
Despite relentless questioning from the Bench, the finalists remained unfazed, answering the questions deftly and precisely.
In the end, NUS defended its title as AG Cup Champion, with the title of Best Oralist also going to Mr. Srivastava. Professor Goh Yihan, Dean of the SMU School of Law, presented the members of the bench with tokens of appreciation.
Deputy Attorney-General Mr. Hri Kumar Nair SC praised all the participants on their good preparation and delivery. To those who feared that they would not make a good advocate because their nerves tend to get to them while under fire, he had the following reassuring words of wisdom: “The feeling of butterflies in your stomach never goes away – relish it; it shows that you care.” These are words that each and every aspiring advocate should remember moving forward.
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*Author: Marcus Chia Hao Jun (3rd Year LL.B. Undergraduate), School of Law, Singapore Management University. Edited by Tan Shu Min, Emily (4th Year LL.B. Undergraduate).