Sentencing Intellectually Disabled Young Offenders: Public Prosecutor v ASR [2019] SGCA 16

In Public Prosecutor v ASR [2019] SGCA 16, the Court of Appeal (“CA”) discussed the appropriate sentencing approach for a young offender, the respondent, who committed serious crimes, including aggravated rape and sexual assault by penetration on an intellectually disabled young girl, but who was also himself intellectually disabled, with a mental age of between eight and ten. The respondent was 14 years old when he committed the offences in question. When he was convicted in 2017, he was about 16 ½ years old. He was nearly 18 years old at the time of sentencing, in 2018.

Medical Negligence: Breaching the duty of care – Noor Azlin Binte Abdul Rahman v Changi General Hospital Pte Ltd & others [2019] SGCA 13

At the heart of Noor Azlin Binte Abdul Rahman v Changi General Hospital Pte Ltd & others [2019] SGCA 13 is the allegation that the three named doctors who attended to patient Noor Azlin binte Abdul Rahman (“Ms Azlin”) at Changi General Hospital (“CGH”) over a four-year period, as well as CGH, were negligent. Azlin argues that their negligence delayed the detection of the malignancy which resulted in her having lung cancer, and caused her to suffer the loss of a better medical outcome. The High Court (“HC”) found that the two Accident and Emergency (“A&E”) department doctors who saw Ms Azlin did not breach their duty of care. Conversely, the HC found that CGH, as well as CGH specialist respiratory physician Dr Imran Bin Mohamed Noor (“Dr Imran”) had indeed breached their respective duties of care. The HC nonetheless dismissed Ms Azlin’s claim of negligence against them, as she was unable to show that their actions had resulted in her delayed diagnosis. On appeal, while the Court of Appeal (“CA”) upheld the HC’s decisions regarding the three doctors, it allowed her claim of negligence against CGH.

Catch Me If You Can: Claiming jurisdiction over an overseas defendant – Shanghai Turbo Enterprises Ltd v Liu Ming [2019] SGCA 11

The appellant, Shanghai Turbo Enterprises Ltd (“Shanghai Turbo”), is a Singapore-listed company that owns Hong Kong-incorporated Best Success (Hong Kong) Ltd, which in turn owns China-incorporated Changzhou 3D Technological Complete Set Equipment Ltd (“CZ3D”). The respondent, Liu Ming (“Liu”), owned approximately 30% of the shares in Shanghai Turbo. He was also a director of all three companies, and held other management positions there. In April 2017, Shanghai Turbo fired Liu from all his positions in the companies, allegedly because of declining levels of profit under his management. Subsequently, Shanghai Turbo filed a suit against Liu for breaching his service agreement (“the Agreement”) with Shanghai Turbo in several ways, including disclosing confidential information to a competitor, and diverting business away from CZ3D. The complication for Shanghai Turbo was that Liu was a Chinese citizen who resided in Changzhou, China. Generally, the court can only adjudicate on disputes between parties if it has jurisdiction (or authority to hear and determine the matter) over them. However, Singapore courts generally do not have jurisdiction over parties, unless those parties voluntarily submit to the court’s jurisdiction or have been served with the necessary originating processes. Furthermore, where a defending party resides outside of Singapore, the initiating party has to go through the added step of obtaining the court’s permission to serve the originating processes overseas.

How Winding Up Proceedings Can Affect A Judgment Creditor’s Rights: SCK Serijadi Sdn Bhd v Artison Interior Pte Ltd [2019] SCGA 05

In SCK Serijadi Sdn Bhd v Artison Interior Pte Ltd [2019] SGCA 05, SCK Serijadi Sdn Bhd (“SCK”) engaged Artison Interior Pte Ltd (“Artison”) to conduct interior decoration works. SCK overpaid Artison and sued Artison for the return of the overpayments. It won an award of $250,000 in the District Court. SCK then attempted to enforce this award by filing two garnishee applications against a third party Shanghai Chong Kee Furniture & Construction Pte Ltd (“Shanghai Chong Kee)”, for $155,000 and $57,500. These proceedings would “attach” (or appropriate) any debts that Shanghai Chong Kee owed to Artison. Thus if SCK succeeded in these garnishee applications, effectively Shanghai Chong Kee (“garnishee”) would have to directly pay SCK (“judgment creditor”) any monies that Shanghai Chong Kee owed Artison (“judgment debtor”), up to the limit of the court-approved amounts.

In the interests of fairness: Glaziers Engineering Pte Ltd v WCS Engineering Construction Pte Ltd [2018] SGCA 66

In the construction industry, a payment dispute between a contractor and sub-contractor may be submitted for adjudication under the Building and Construction Industry Security Payment Act. However, the adjudicator’s decision may be set aside if, during the adjudication process, there is a breach of natural justice which causes prejudice to at least one of the parties. In Glaziers Engineering Pte Ltd v WCS Engineering Construction Pte Ltd [2018] SGCA 66, the Court of Appeal considered when a breach of natural justice would occur, and when such a breach would be considered prejudicial.

Justifiable Loss of Confidence in Management: Douglas Foo Peow Yong v ERC Prime II Pte Ltd and another appeal and other matters [2018] SGCA 67

Under section 254(1)(i) of the Companies Act (Cap 50, 2006 Rev Ed), the court may order the winding up of a company where misconduct by the company’s director creates a “justifiable loss of confidence” in his/her management of the company. However, even if such a ground for winding up is established, the court retains “residual discretion” to decline to grant such an order. In Douglas Foo Peow Yong v ERC Prime II Pte Ltd [2018] SGCA 67, the Court of Appeal discussed when such justifiable loss of confidence might occur, and how the courts should exercise their residual discretion.

The Principle of Fairness in Criminal Trials: Mui Jia Jun v Public Prosecutor [2018] SGCA 59

In Mui Jia Jun v Public Prosecutor [2018] SGCA 59, the Court of Appeal upheld the fundamental principle that an accused person should know with certainty, and thus have a full opportunity to meet, the case advanced against him by the Prosecution. For instance, where the Prosecution advances a composite case comprising several facets, the Prosecution should make it explicit if it is seeking a conviction based on any individual facet.