Allan (not his real name) sought our advice on a criminal matter. He was facing one charge under Section 338 (b) of the Penal Code for causing grievous hurt by an act which endangers life or the personal safety of others. The charge entailed, amongst others, the likelihood of an imprisonment term of up to 2 years. Allan’s charge stemmed from an incident which took place while he was driving his vehicle at night and collided into the victim, a cyclist at a zebra crossing.

The victim suffered serious injuries including a fracture to the skull, which is a major aggravating factor.  Ordinarily this would entail a jail sentence. As stated in Public Prosecutor v Lim Choon Teck[2015] SGHC 265:

35 The court in PP v Hue An Li ultimately decided (at [71]) that the outcome materiality principle trumps the control principle in the context of criminal negligence. In the present case, I am of the view that the outcome materiality principle similarly trumps the control principle in the context of criminal rashness.

36     Like criminal negligence (see PP v Hue An Li at [71]), I note that the provisions in the Penal Code that sanction against rash conduct have higher prescribed maximum punishments as the gravity of the bodily harm inflicted increases. The provisions of the Penal Code are therefore predicated on outcome materiality. I set out the maximum custodial sentences for the rashness limbs of ss 336, 337, 338 and 304 of the Penal Code in the table below in support of this point:

Section

Outcome/Injury

Maximum custodial sentence

336(a)

Endangering life or personal safety by a rash act

Six months’ imprisonment

337(a)

Causing hurt by a rash act

One year imprisonment

338(a)

Causing grievous hurt by a rash act

Four years’ imprisonment

304A(a)

Causing death by a rash act

Five years’ imprisonment

 

 

 

 

 

After a thorough interview with Allan, we realised there were certain mitigating factors in his case which warranted further consideration. We decided to verify these considerations with the prosecution. During a meeting with the prosecutors ( called Criminal Case Management system – CCMS) we raised Allan’s concerns to the prosecutors. We also queried about the cyclist and were then given to understand that the cyclist was in fact wearing black clothing and riding on a bicycle without any light source. Furthermore, the bicycle was one that was built for speed.

After meeting with the prosecutors, we prepared Allan’s Representations in which we highlighted, amongst others, that the cyclist’s dark clothing and the speed at which he would have crossed the zebra crossing which may have significantly contributed to the accident occurring.  In response to our Representations, the prosecutors decided to reduce the charge from Section 338(b) of the Penal Code to Section 337 (b) for causing hurt by an act which endangers life or the personal safety of others. Importantly, under the facts of this case, Section 337 (b) did not entail an imprisonment term as the prosecution accepted that were strong mitigating factors.

We were pleased that we were able to help Allan avert imprisonment.  Satisfied, Allan accepted the reduced charge and pleaded guilty.

For inquiries on criminal offences in Singapore or if looking for a criminal lawyer in Singapore, contact Ray Louis Law Corporation at +65-9090 8288