Levelling the Playing Field between the Prosecution and the Defence: Steps in the Right Direction

Developed by Herbert Packer, the Crime Control Model and Due Process Model espouse different ideologies in criminal justice – the former prioritises efficient crime suppression in the interests of public order, while the latter emphasises the primacy of individual rights in relation to the state. While Singapore’s criminal justice regime incorporates characteristics of both, historically, experts have argued that it bears greater similarity to the Crime Control Model.

Fair Enough? An Examination of Existing Legal Limits on Prosecutorial Discretion

The story of Ms Parti Liyani is one of a harrowing journey through the criminal justice regime, resulting in eventual victory, but at great cost. In March 2019, Ms Liyani stood trial for four theft-related charges and was found guilty of all four charges. On appeal, it was found that the Prosecution had led Ms Liyani to make an admission at the trial below, by failing to disclose the non-functional state of a DVD player she was accused of stealing. Although she was eventually acquitted, Ms Liyani’s story is a demonstration of the impact of prosecutorial decisions on accused persons.

Limits on the Constitutional Right to Freedom of Assembly: Wham Kwok Han Jolovan v Public Prosecutor [2020] SGCA 111

Is section 16(1)(a) of the Public Order Act (Cap 257A, 2010 Rev Ed) (“the POA”), which restricts the constitutional right of peaceable assembly, a valid derogation from Article 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Cap 1, 1985 Rev Ed) (“the Constitution”)? This question was considered by a five-judge coram of the Court of Appeal (“the CA”) in Wham Kwok Han Jolovan v Public Prosecutor [2020] SGCA 111.

By-elections for single vacancies in GRCs: Wong Souk Yee v Attorney-General [2019] SGCA 25

In Singapore, there are two types of electoral divisions – Single Member Constituencies (“SMCs”) and Group Representation Constituencies (“GRCs”). The number of seats in a GRC varies from 4 to 6 seats. The GRC scheme was introduced in 1988 with the goal of promoting greater minority representation. As such, each GRC must have at least one Member of Parliament (“MP”) from a minority racial group. In Wong Souk Yee v AG [2019] SGCA 25, the Court of Appeal (“CA”) addressed the question of whether a by-election for all the seats of the GRC is required when only one MP vacates his or her seat in the GRC. The CA held that a by-election is not required under such circumstances.

Updating and rectifying the Constitution: Wong Souk Yee v Attorney-General

The High Court in the recent matter of Wong Souk Yee v Attorney-General introduced techniques of statutory interpretation heretofore absent from Singapore constitutional law. In interpreting Article 49(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (“the Constitution”), Chua Lee Ming J (“Chua J”), faced with a seemingly conflicting provision in s 24(2A) of the Parliamentary Elections Act (“PEA”), had recourse to an updating construction and a rectifying construction of Article 49(1). This case note briefly analyses the judgment and explores some fundamental issues arising from employing these two methods of statutory interpretation on constitutional provisions.