Under section 34 of the Penal Code (Cap 224, 2008 Rev Ed) (“Penal Code”), can the Prosecution charge two different people based on a common intention to commit a criminal act between them, but press a more serious charge against one accused person and a less serious charge against the other (“differing common intention charges”)? The Court of Appeal (“CA”) held that there was nothing under section 34 which required the Prosecution to bring identical charges against all who were charged pursuant to a common intention to do a criminal act. Further, there were good reasons why there was no general rule requiring the Prosecution to do so.
In a collaboration with the Supreme Court, SMU Law students (under SMU Lexicon) are reporting on selected Court of Appeal judgments, highlighting the significant points, so as to foster greater public awareness of these cases and their implications. The summaries are available on the Supreme Court of Singapore Website, and are reproduced here on SMU Lexicon's website as well.
In line with the principle of freedom to contract, the courts will give effect to the intention of the parties in creating their contract, and also hold them to their duty to perform their primary obligations under such contract. However, where the contracting parties agree to vest certain decision-making powers to a specific (non-judicial) entity, to what extent may a court review the exercise of powers by such entity?
The Prosecution has been described as owing “a duty to the court and to the wider public to ensure that only the guilty are convicted, and that all relevant material is placed before the court to assist it in its determination of the truth”. However, what exactly does the scope of this duty entail? The Court of Appeal (“CA”) addressed this question in Muhammad Nabill bin Mohd Fuad v Public Prosecutor  1 SLR 984.
How should cannabis and cannabis mixture be defined? Should the penalty on trafficking, importing, or exporting of cannabis mixture be calibrated based on the gross weight? Can the Prosecution charge an alleged offender with both knowledge of importing cannabis and cannabis mixture? These are some of the questions the Court of Appeal (“CA”) answered in Saravanan Chandaram v Public Prosecutor  SGCA 43.
A fiduciary is someone who has undertaken to act for or on behalf of another (his principal). As such, a fiduciary owes an obligation of loyalty to the principal. Indeed, the principal relies on the fiduciary to act in his or her best interests, and is especially vulnerable to the fiduciary’s breach of duty. Thus, it has been observed that a fiduciary owes his or her principal the highest standard of duty known to the law. It is also well-established that a director of a company has a fiduciary relationship with the company.
Can an employer sue a former employee for the mere wrongful copying, abuse and exploitation of protected information, without also having to prove that the employee wrongfully used the information? This was the question before the Court of Appeal (“CA”) in I-Admin (Singapore) Pte Ltd v Hong Ying Ting and others  SGCA 32.
Can an agreement which is formed purely through the operation of algorithms be considered a binding contract? If so, can such a contract be unilaterally cancelled because of a mistake, where such mistake resulted in trades being concluded at 250 times the market rate?
What happens when a criminal act is alleged, and the only evidence is from a sole eyewitness (i.e. the evidence is uncorroborated)? In Public Prosecutor v GCK  SGCA 2, the Singapore Court of Appeal clarified that the "unusually convincing" standard applies to such cases as well, and is not just limited to cases dealing with sexual offences. Furthermore, a stricter standard is not to be imposed for cases dealing with sole eyewitnesses.
The law on "impossible attempts" (i.e. attempts to commit an offence that could not have been possibly completed) has long been fraught with conceptual difficulties. In Han Fang Guan v PP  SGCA 11, the Singapore Court of Appeal finally laid down a two-stage approach for such crimes.