A Case Study –  Pre–Mention Representations – Sec 380 Penal Code

Our client was going to be charged in court under Section 380 of the Penal Code (Cap. 224) for theft. Her family consulted us before she was going to be charged in court. We quickly went to work before the court date. We found out that our client had a psychiatric condition and drafted pre-mention representations. It was sent to the police and Attorney General’s Chambers. We informed them that our client had a psychiatric history and the condition was the primary reason that led to her irrational acts of shoplifting.  She had a tremendous level of mental stress and was in a severe depressive state at the material points in time.  In relation to case law, this trend has also been noted by Dr Sathyadevan in the case of Ong Lilian v Public Prosecutor [2001] SGDC 293 at [29] – [30]:

“Dr Sathyadevan stated that there was an increased link between shoplifting and females suffering from depression and produced to the court an excerpt from a leading textbook on Forensic Psychiatry (P19). Shoplifting was likened to a cry for help from a depressed individual.

His own clinical experience in Singapore was consistent ie that there was an increased incidence of shoplifting amongst females aged 40-55 years who were also suffering from depression. A female patient suffering from depression would be more prone to shoplifting than one who was not.

Although our client had previous convictions in court for shoplifting prior to this offence, the authorities accepted the representations and issued her with a stern warning. The charge against her was dropped. Needless to say, the family was grateful to the authorities for acceding to our representations.