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.

Erring on the Side of Disclosure: the Prosecution’s Additional Disclosure Obligations under Muhammad Nabill bin Mohd Fuad v Public Prosecutor [2020] 1 SLR 984

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 [2020] 1 SLR 984.

Clarifying “cannabis” and “cannabis mixture”: Saravanan Chandaram v Public Prosecutor [2020] SGCA 43

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 [2020] SGCA 43.

Unpacking Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: Public Prosecutor v GCK [2020] SGCA 2

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 [2020] 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 appropriate sentencing framework for sexual assault by penetration cases: BPH v Public Prosecutor [2019] SGCA 64

Section 376 of the Penal Code (Cap 224, 2008 Rev Ed) (“PC”) sets out the offences of sexual assault by penetration, including those through: digital-vaginal penetration; digital-anal penetration; and fellatio. The case of Pram Nair v Public Prosecutor [2017] 2 SLR 1015 (“Pram Nair”) established a sentencing framework for cases of sexual assault through digital-vaginal penetration. However, it left open the following questions: (a) whether the Pram Nair framework should apply to other forms of sexual assault by penetration, and (b) whether there was a hierarchy of severity, for the various permutations of “sexual assault by penetration” under section 376 of the PC. The Court of Appeal answered these questions in BPH v Public Prosecutor.

Doxxing in Singapore: Laws and Remedies

The growing trend of online vigilantism, coupled with the increasing number of doxxing incidents - where others’ personal information is published online - has highlighted the need for legislation against such conduct. In light of this growing issue, Parliament has amended the Protection from Harassment Act (“POHA”) to criminalise doxxing and provide more comprehensive remedies against doxxing. This article will explain when doxxing constitutes an offence under the POHA, as well as the remedies available for victims of doxxing.

BLV v Public Prosecutor [2019] SGCA 62: Sentencing Framework for Abuse of the Court’s Process

In the case of BLV v Public Prosecutor [2019] SGCA 62, the Singapore Court of Appeal ("CA") found that the offender, who had falsified his evidence and even procured a witness to do the same, had abused the process of the court. In light of such conduct, the CA imposed a significant "uplift" (or increase) on the offender's existing sentence. In doing so, the CA discussed the factors that the court would consider for imposing an uplift which was due to an offender's abuse of the court's process.