Defence counsel perform an important task of mounting a robust defence for accused persons. In so doing, they must also uphold proper conduct in courts. Where defence counsel invoke the courts’ processes without merit, the Court of Appeal has an inherent power to order personal costs against them. In Syed Suhail bin Syed Zin v PP, a three-step step test was adopted to clarify when the courts would exercise this power.
Can an agreement which is formed purely through the operation of algorithms be considered a binding contract? If so, can such a contract be unilaterally cancelled because of a mistake, where such mistake resulted in trades being concluded at 250 times the market rate?
Singapore Shooting Association and others v Singapore Rifle Association  SGCA 83 was the latest instalment in a series of cases about a long-running dispute between Singapore Shooting Association (“SSA”) and Singapore Rifle Association (“SRA”). This decision by the Court of Appeal, addressed issues of contractual indemnities, disproportionate litigation and the tort of unlawful means conspiracy.
In cases involving medical negligence, lawyers for both parties often use, as evidence, voluminous amounts of scientific and statistical evidence. However, parties may incorrectly confuse what the evidence shows, with what is required by the legal standard of proof. In Armstrong, Carol Ann v Quest Laboratories Pte Ltd  SGCA 75, the Court of Appeal clarified the proper approach in using statistical evidence to prove negligence
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  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.
Doctors are expected to uphold high standards when dispensing medical treatment to patients. However, not every misstep by a medical practitioner amounts to professional misconduct. Where a doctor does depart from acceptable standards of conduct, disciplinary action is warranted only where such departure is egregious. As highlighted in Singapore Medical Council v Dr Lim Lian Arn  SGHC 172, the law seeks to strike a balance between (a) ensuring that serious misconduct and failings are duly censured, and (b) guarding against over-penalisation of doctors.
In Singapore Medical Council v Dr Soo Shuenn Chiang  SGHC 250, psychiatrist Dr Soo Shuenn Chiang received a call regarding a patient (“Complainant”) from someone he thought was the Complainant’s husband. The caller informed Dr Soo that the patient was suicidal and needed to be brought to the Institute of Mental Health for an urgent assessment of her suicide risk. Dr Soo then wrote a memorandum (“Memorandum”), with pertinent information about the Complainant’s medical history, to be used by the police and ambulance staff. Dr Soo left the Memorandum with his clinic staff, with instructions that it should be handed to the Husband. However, unknown to Dr Soo, it was the Complainant’s brother who collected the Memorandum. The Complainant lodged a complaint with the SMC, and Dr Soo was subsequently found guilty of professional misconduct under section 53(1)(d) of the Medical Registration Act (Cap 174, 2014 Rev Ed). On appeal, the High Court ("HC") set aside the conviction. In its ruling, the HC clarified when a doctor may disclose a patient's confidential medical information without the patient's consent, and also that doctors are under a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that the information is not mishandled or released negligently to unauthorised persons.
In the case of BLV v Public Prosecutor  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.
When a case goes on appeal, parties often try to adduce (or offer) new evidence as part of the appeal. Generally, where the new evidence concerns matters which occurred before the date of the decision in the court below, parties are allowed to offer such evidence only with leave (or permission) from the higher court. This is in the interests of finality in litigation, and also of the fair administration of justice (so as to incentivize parties to advance their entire case at trial, rather than deliberately leave over points solely for the purpose of appeals and thereby obtaining a “second bite at the cherry”).
In Yap Chen Hsiang Osborn v Public Prosecutor  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).