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.

Convicting secondary offenders of money laundering: Yap Chen Hsiang Osborn v Public Prosecutor [2019] SGCA 40

In Yap Chen Hsiang Osborn v Public Prosecutor [2019] SGCA 40, the Court of Appeal (“CA”) clarified that section 47(1) of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (Cap 65A, 2000 Rev Ed) (“CDSA”), which essentially makes it an offense to launder proceeds which represents one’s (i.e. the offender’s) benefits from criminal conduct, applies only to primary offenders (someone who launders the benefits of his or her own criminal conduct) and not secondary offenders (someone who does not himself or herself commit the offence from which the proceeds were originally derived, but launders the proceeds of another person’s crime).

To plead or not to plead? Qualifying a guilty plea during mitigation: Public Prosecutor v Dinesh s/o Rajantheran [2019] SGCA 27

In Public Prosecutor v Dinesh s/o Rajantheran [2019] SGCA 27, the Court of Appeal (“CA”) answered two questions by the Prosecution, regarding the proper interpretation of section 228(4) of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68, 2012 Rev Ed) (“CPC”). Under section 228(4), the court “must reject” a party’s guilty plea if it is satisfied that any matter raised in mitigation “materially affects any legal condition” which constitutes the underlying offence.

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.