“Even-handed Justice” – (Re)Sentencing a dangerous cyclist

The appeal of the case Public Prosecutor v Lim Choon Teck [2015] SGMC 30 (decision date 16 Sep 2015) has caught my eye.

The Public Prosecutor (Attorney-General’s Chambers) appeal successfully in favour of the accused; who had been given 8 weeks by District Judge (DJ) Lee-Khoo Poh Choo (henceforth, Lee-Khoo). Justice Chan Seng Oon consequently cut the duration to 3 weeks in a landmark decision. Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Prem Raj Prabakaran (henceforth, Prem) argued that the jail term was overtly excessive in relation to the crime. Further, he differed with DJ Lee-Khoo’s view of a ‘total absence of mitigating factors’ for the accused. He brought up the fact that the accused did not delay his admission of guilt; and the paucity of antecedents. The antecedent used during the earlier sentencing was actually a case in 12 June 2012 concerning the harassment of borrowers/residents under the Moneylenders Act. This is not an apple to apple comparison unfortunately.

It is my opinion that justice has been served based on the above reasoning. It seems that the deterrent effect desired by DJ Lee-Khoo would be conveyed by the media but also by word of mouth plausibly at coffeeshops. Should others fail to take heed then the next offender should be given a longer prison term. Meanwhile, the best thing is prevention, reminding and educating the public that the bicycle probably has 50% the killing ability of any car.

References:

LawNet. (16 Sep 2015). Latest Singapore Judgments – State Court Judgments of the last 3 months: Public Prosecutor v Lim Choon Teck [2015] SGMC 30. http://www.lawnet.sg/lawnet/web/lawnet/free-resources?p_p_id=freeresources_WAR_lawnet3baseportlet&p_p_lifecycle=1&p_p_state=normal&p_p_mode=view&p_p_col_id=column-1&p_p_col_pos=2&p_p_col_count=3&_freeresources_WAR_lawnet3baseportlet_action=openContentPage&_freeresources_WAR_lawnet3baseportlet_docId=/Judgment/17912-SSP.xml.  [Please note after the 3 months, if you still wish to look at the entire submission then you would need to subscribe to LawNet.]

Vanessa Paige Chelvan. (18 Sep 2015). Prosecution successfully appeals for lower sentence in landmark case. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/prosecution-successfully/2135372.html. Channel NewsAsia.

Straits Times. (30 Sep 2015). Justice seen to be even-handed. http://www.singaporelawwatch.com/slw/index.php/headlines/70623-justice-seen-to-be-even-handed#sthash.u8ctENdO.dpbs. Singapore Law Watch.
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