The composition of an offence is a settlement of a criminal charge between the victim and the accused. Normally, the accused makes monetary compensation and/or offers an apology to the victim. When an offence has been compounded, the accused is effectively acquitted of his crime. The procedural right to compound offences is provided by Section 241 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Criminal Procedure Code.
When is the composition of offence allowed?
Generally speaking, only offences that are minor and private in nature may be compounded. A list of the offences that may be compounded is found in the Fourth Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Who is allowed to exercise the right to compound?
Section 241 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that consent of the Public Prosecutor is required if police investigations have begun or the accused has already been charged in court.
In addition to the above, section 242 of the Criminal Procedure Code awards the Public Prosecutor the right to compound offences by collecting a sum of money from the accused which shall not exceed half of the amount of the maximum fine that is prescribed for the offence; or S$5,000, whichever is lower.
What happens when after a composition of offence?
A composition can occur when the Accused does one or more of the following:
- Extend a sincere apology to the victim
- Offer financial compensation to the victim
- Undertake not to repeat the offending behaviour
- Undertake to perform a charitable deed.
The above list is not exclusive. For more information, you may refer to the State Court and the Attorney General’s Chambers.