The prosecution performs an important task of maintaining law and order, and upholding the rule of law. In exercising their discretionary powers as vested to them under Article 35(8) of the Constitution, this may lead to differential treatment between seemingly equally situated accused persons. While this may raise questions regarding the constitutional right to equality, this article will illustrate why these prosecutorial decisions are nonetheless in accordance with Article 12 of the Constitution.
High-profile court cases are often newsworthy precisely because they involve sensational or shocking facts, or because they implicate current or controversial sociopolitical issues. However, while such cases naturally attract a good deal of public interest, excessive speculation or highly emotive commentary risk undermining the proper and impartial conduct of the case in question, by placing undue pressure on the court and parties, and affecting the availability and reliability of witness testimony. It is therefore crucial to understand the sub judice rule, which aims to protect the proper administration of justice by governing what can and cannot be published in respect of ongoing cases.
Joel Soon Jian Wei & Chang Wen Yee I. IntroductionIn Tan Seet Eng v Attorney-General, Chief Justice (CJ) Sundaresh Menon famously quipped that “[t]he rule of law is the bedrock on which our society was founded and on which it has thrived.”  Yet, the rule of law “is not one that admits of a … Continue reading The Rule of Law: A Brief Explanation
Bill Puah Ee Jie and Keith Low* I. IntroductionA guilty plea refers to an admission by someone who is accused of a crime that he or she did, in fact, commit the crime. Often, pleading guilty affords an accused a significant discount in sentencing. This discount, accompanied with the costs and time involved in claiming … Continue reading Pleading guilty in Singapore
Bill Puah Ee Jie* I. Introduction During the investigations of crimes, numerous statements are often recorded by the police. Different types of statements might also be taken at different times. Unfortunately, the process remains relatively unknown to the public and therefore may create an undue amount of uncertainty and unease for those undergoing the process. … Continue reading The State of Statements in Singapore’s Legal System
Written by Fun Wei Xuan, Joel* I. IntroductionProsecutorial discretion, broadly speaking, refers to the Public Prosecutor’s ability to, in its sole discretion, make a myriad of decisions, including: whether to initiate prosecution, what charge to prefer, whether to amend a charge, and whether to discontinue prosecution. This power is provided for in Article 35(8) of … Continue reading Judicial Review of Prosecutorial Decisions
In a new collaboration with the Supreme Court, SMU Law students (under SMU Lexicon) will pen articles on a number of issues concerning the rule of law, so as to foster greater public awareness of how cases are decided as well as the legal processes involved.
Parti Liyani was an Indonesian domestic helper who was charged with stealing up to $34,000 worth of items from then-Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong and his family. She was initially sentenced to jail, but on appeal the High Court acquitted Ms Liyani of all charges. The High Court held that the Prosecution had not provided sufficient credible evidence to support its claims. Furthermore, the Prosecution could not rebut the Defence’s allegation that Ms Liyani’s employers had an improper motive in making a police report against Ms Liyani, i.e. to prevent her from lodging a complaint to the authorities about being asked to work outside her approved place of employment.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the first leader of Pakistan apocryphally said, “Think 100 times before you take a decision, but once that decision is made, stand by it as one man.”
Our lives have their shapes because of decisions made or not made. Of course, some decisions are weightier than others. In particular, the decisions that judges make regarding the cases before them have significant bearing on many, even extending in more extreme cases to determining whether a person lives or dies.