Lim Chooi Huat&1lagi V Pendakwa Raya


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RAYUAN JENAYAH NO.: P-05-295-11/2011 & P-05-296-11/2011 (Perbicaraan Jenayah Pulau Pinang No.: 45-10-2011)
















Abdul Malik bin Ishak, JCA Azahar bin Mohamed, JCA Mohd Zawawi bin Salleh, JCA








[1] This appeal arises out of the judgment of the Penang High Court, in which the court had convicted both the appellants under section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 (“DDA 1952”) and sentenced them to the mandatory death sentences prescribed under section 39B(2) of the DDA 1952.


[2] Being aggrieved by the said impugned convictions and sentences, the appellants have now appealed to this Court.


[3] We have heard learned counsels for the appellants and learned Deputy Public Prosecutor at some length. We have gone through the records available before us. In our view, the learned trial judge’s decision does not suffer from any patent legal infirmity requiring interference by this Court. Accordingly, we unanimously dismissed the appeals and affirmed the convictions and sentences passed by the High Court.


[4] We now give the reasons for our decision.


The Charge


[5] The appellants were charged and tried with the following offence:




“Bahawa kamu bersama-sama pada 14 Mei 2010, jam lebih kurang 3.00 petang di hadapan TESCO, Jalan Tengku Kudin 1, Gelugor, di dalam daerah Timur Laut, di dalam negeri Pulau Pinang, dengan niat bersama memperedarkan dadah berbahaya sejumlah berat 97.10 gram (27.4 gram Heroin dan 69.7 gram Monoacetylmorphines) dan dengan itu kamu telah melakukan suatu kesalahan di bawah seksyen 39B(1)(a) Akta Dadah Berbahaya 1952 yang boleh dihukum di bawah seksyen 39B(2) Akta yang sama dibaca bersama seksyen 34 Kanun Keseksaan.”.


Facts of the Case


[6] The facts giving rise to this appeal have been fully set out in the judgment of the learned trial judge. Our narration of them, here, will therefore be skeletal in nature. Whenever necessary in this judgment some of the facts relating to specific issues will be examined in greater detail.


[7] The police had set up a task force to conduct drug suppression operation. This is an undercover operation by police officers to arrest unsuspecting drug traffickers. For the purpose of this operation, Sjn. Mohd Redzuan Yap (SP4) acted as the 1st agent provocateur and he was partnered with Kpl. Mohd Iskandar, who was tasked to carry the flash money in the amount of




RM87,000.00. The 2nd agent provocateur, Kpl Govindasamy (SP6), was tasked to accept the delivery of drugs at a different location. SP6 was partnered with L/Kpl Than.


[8] On 12/05/2010, at about 5.30 p.m., SP4, L/kpl Than and an informer went to Restaurant Aliyar to meet up with the 1st appellant (nicknamed ‘Apai’). The informer introduced the 1st appellant to SP4, who nicknamed himself as ‘Topoi’.


[9] SP4 and the 1st appellant bargained for the sale and purchase of heroin. The 1st appellant agreed to supply 10 pounds of heroin, at the price of RM8,700.00 for every pound. The informer and L/Kpl Than did not participate in the negotiation.


[10] On 14/05/2010, the 1st appellant had called SP4 twice to enquire about the proposed purchase. During the second phone call, SP4 also spoke to one ‘Ah Hoe’, who also enquired about the proposed purchase, and instructed SP4 to proceed to the 1st appellant’s CD shop at Jalan Macallum.


[11] Upon arriving at the CD shop, SP4 saw the 1st appellant was accompanied by the 2nd appellant, who was identified as ‘Ah Hoe’. The 1st appellant enquired about the money. The flash money, contained in a plastic bag, was handed over to the 1st appellant who




passed the bag over to the 2nd appellant. Having counted the money, the 2nd appellant placed the plastic bag inside a drawer.


[12] The 2nd appellant then made a call to an unknown person informing that the money was adequate. The 2nd appellant then instructed the 1st appellant to fetch and deliver the drugs to SP6. SP4 had given the 1st appellant a mobile number in order for him to contact SP6.


[13] Both SP4 and the 2nd appellant then went to Restaurant Seven Star, located next to the CD shop. Earlier, SP4 took the plastic bag containing the flash money that was put in the drawer by the 2nd appellant and promised to give the money back once the drugs were delivered.


[14] At about 2.23 p.m., SP6 received a phone call from the 1st appellant enquiring about his whereabouts. SP6 informed the 1st appellant that he was at Restaurant Pelita, Tesco, Gelugor. While on a lookout, L/Kpl Than saw the 1st appellant on a motorcycle (PFR 6753) stationed at a nearby road. L/Kpl Than then called out to the 1st appellant and waved his hand.


[15] SP6 walked up to the 1st appellant and enquired about the drugs. The 1st appellant pointed towards the bag in the carrier




basket of the motorcycle. SP6 opened the bag and saw several translucent plastic bags containing powdery and granular substances believed to be heroin. SP6 then scratched his head several times, a pre-arranged signal to arrest the 1st appellant.


[16] Inspector Hilmi (SP8) rushed forward to arrest the 1st appellant and a struggle ensued. SP8 identified himself as a police officer and examined the bag. He found 10 translucent plastic bags containing powdery and granular substances believed to be heroin. The drugs were seized and chemistry analysis confirmed them to be dangerous drugs, having a total weight of 97.1. grammes (27.4 grammes of heroin and 69.7 grammes of monoacetylmorphines).


[17] Inspector Gan (SP7), received a call from SP8 at about 3.25 p.m. informing him of the arrest of the 1st appellant and the seizure of the drgus. SP7 then went to Restaurant Seven Star and arrested the 2nd appellant.


The Defence Case


[18] The appellants presented an entire different story. The 1st appellant denied having participated in the negotiations concerned with the sale of drugs in this case. It was his friend ‘Macau’ who spoke to SP4 at Restaurant Aliyar on the first occasion. The 1st




appellant asserted that the bag containing the offending drugs belonged to ‘Macau’. He denied any knowledge as to the contents of the bag.


[19] According to the 1st appellant, he went to Tesco to meet up with Macau’s friends on Macau’s request. He was supposed to guide them back to Jalan Macallum as Macau’s friends were not familiar with the roads in Penang. He rode Macau’s motorcycle because Macau told him to do so as Macau’s friends recognized the registration number. The bag containing the offending drugs was already in the carrier basket.


[20] The 2nd appellant’s defence was that he did not negotiate with SP4. He denied having received and counted the flash money. He had no physical possession of the offending drugs. His presence at the CD shop and the restaurant was a mere coincident.


[21] Both appellants did not deny the presence of SP4 at the CD shop. However, they maintained that the 1st appellant had refused to accept a parcel from SP4, to be delivered to ‘Macau’.


The Grounds of Appeal


[22] The appellants are now before us, urging reversal of the decision of the learned trial judge on the following grounds:




(a) that the 1st appellant has no knowledge as to the contents of the bag placed in the carrier of the motorcycle;


(b) that the 2nd appellant has no physical possession of the bag which contained the offending drugs;


(c) that the non-calling of one Ng Kim Fuan (owner of motorcycle) attracts the invocation of adverse inference against the prosecution’s case; and


(d) entrapment.


Ground (a) & (b): Custody, Control and Possession of the Drugs


[23] We will deal with grounds (a) and (b) of the appeal together.


[24] Learned counsel for the 1st appellant contended that his client can hardly be said to be in possession of the offending drugs since he has no knowledge of the contents of the bag.


[25] In respect of the 2nd appellant, learned counsel contended that the trial judge erred in the finding of 2nd appellant’s culpability through SP4’s evidence that:


(i) the 2nd appellant was present when SP4 delivered the money;




(ii) the 2nd appellant had made a telephone call through his mobile phone; and


(iii) he instructed the 1st appellant to deliver the drugs to SP6.


[26] It was the 2nd appellant’s contention that mere presence could not be considered as pre-concert to traffic the said drug without any supporting evidence. Further, there was no finger prints lifted from the flash money to establish that the 2nd appellant had counted the money.


[27] In response, learned deputy public prosecutor submitted that the appellants were charged with common intention to commit the offence. And that the evidence adduced must be considered as a whole including the overwhelming evidence that the appellants acted together to effect the sale of drugs to SP4 and SP6.


[28] With respect, the submission of learned counsel for the appellants is devoid of any merit. It is essential to bear in mind that the prosecution founded its case of trafficking on the sale of dangerous drugs to SP4 and SP6, the agent provocateurs. The definition of ‘trafficking’ in the Act is wide and includes not only carrying, keeping and concealing, but also buying or selling. (See Public Prosecutor v Saari Jusoh [2007] 2 CLJ 197).




[29] The principles of law on common intention under section 34 of the Penal Code had been clearly stated in the Supreme Court case of Namasiyiam Doraisamy v. PP & Other Cases [1987] 1 CLJ 540; [1987] CLJ (Rep) 241. Syed Agil Barakbah SCJ, in his judgment, had this to say:


“In law, common intention requires a prior meeting of the minds and presupposes some prior concert. Proof of holding the same intention or of sharing some other intention, is not enough. There must be proved either by direct or by circumstantial evidence that there was (a) a common intention to commit the very offence of which the accused persons are sought to be convicted and (b) participation in the commission of the intended offence in furtherance of that common intention.


Where the prosecution case rests on circumstantial evidence, the circumstances which are proved must be such as necessarily lead only to that inference. Direct evidence or a prior plan to commit an offence is not necessary in every case because common intention may develop on the spot and without any long interval of time between it and the doing of the act commonly intended. In such a case, common intention may be inferred from the facts and circumstances of the case and the conduct of the accused. (The Supreme Court (of India) on Criminal Law 1950-1960 by JK Soonavala page 188 to 193).”




[30] In the same vein, the Indian Supreme Court in Suresh & Anor v State of U.P. 2001(3) SCC 673, had the following to state pertaining to section 34 of the Indian Penal Code which is in pari materia with our section 34:


“Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code recognises the principle of vicarious liability in the criminal jurisprudence. It makes a person liable for action of an offence not committed by him but by another person with whom he shared the common intention. It is a rule of evidence and does not create a substantive offence.


The section gives statutory recognition to the commonsense principle that if more than two persons intentionally do a thing jointly, it is just the same as if each of them had done it individually. There is no gainsaying that a common intention pre-supposes prior concert, which requires a pre-arranged plan of the accused participating in an offence. Such a preconcert or preplanning may develop on the spot or during the course of commission of the offence but the crucial test is that such plan must precede the act constituting an offence. Common intention can be formed previously or in the course of occurrence and on a spur of moment.


The existence of a common intention is a question of fact in each case to be proved mainly as a matter of inference from the circumstances of the case.




The dominant feature for attracting Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (hereinafter referred to as “the Code”) is the element of participation in absence resulting in the ultimate “criminal act”. The “act” referred to in latter part of Section 34 means the ultimate criminal act with which the accused is charged of sharing the common intention. The accused is, therefore, made responsible for the ultimate criminal act done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all. The section does not envisage the separate act by all the accused persons for becoming responsible for the ultimate criminal act. If such an interpretation is accepted, the purpose of Section 34 shall be rendered infructuous. Participation in the crime in furtherance of the common intention cannot conceive of some independent criminal act by all accused persons, besides the ultimate criminal act because for that individual act law takes care of making such accused responsible under the other provisions of the Code. The word “act” used in Section 34 denotes a series of acts as a single act. What is required under law is that the accused persons sharing the common intention must be physically present at the scene of occurrence and be shown to not have dissuaded themselves from the intended criminal act for which they shared the common intention. Culpability under Section 34 cannot be excluded by mere distance from the scene of occurrence. The presumption of




constructive intention, however, has to be arrived at only when the court can, with judicial servitude, hold that the accused must have pre-conceived result that ensued in furtherance of the common intention. A Division Bench of the Patna High Court in Shatrughan Patar & Ors. v. Emperor [AIR 1919 Pat 111] held that it is only when a court with some certainty hold that a particular accused must have preconceived or premeditated the result which ensued or acted in concert with others in order to bring about that result, that Section 34 may be applied.”.


(See also Sabarudin bin Non & Ors v P.P [2005] 4 MLJ 37).


[31] In the instant appeal, there is more than credible and cogent evidence from SP4 and SP6 to establish that the appellants acted in concert in the sale of the drugs. The preparatory act for the purpose of trafficking drugs covers a series of continuing acts. The negotiation to sell heroin on the 1st occasion was spearheaded by the 1st appellant. SP 4 was later introduced to the 2nd appellant. The 2nd appellant had checked the money, made a phone call to an unknown person informing that the money was adequate, then instructed the 1st appellant to fetch and deliver the drugs. The 1st appellant met up with SP6 and pointed towards the bag in the carrier basket when SP6 enquired about the drugs.




[32] On the facts and circumstances of this case, it clearly showed that the 1st appellant had knowledge of the contents of the bag and he was not a mere conduit pipe. Therefore, we are in entire agreement with the learned trial judge in finding that there was clear evidence of sale or supply of drugs by the 1st appellant for the purpose of both appellants jointly handing it over to SP6 in exchange for payment as earlier agreed.


[33] There was no iota of evidence which points to the involvement of ‘Macau’. If indeed ‘Macau’ was the real trafficker of the offending drugs, it would be unreasonable for the 1st appellant not to have revealed ‘Macau’s’ name to the police at the earliest opportunity, as it would have absolve him from being charged with the offence. The learned judge had explained why he was not convinced with the 1st appellant’s defence, as he had doubted its plausibility. We are of the view that his Lordship did not err in making such a finding in the light of the overwhelming evidence against the 1st appellant.


[34] We also find ourselves unable to agree with the learned


counsel’s submission that lack of fingerprinting evidence would cast


a doubt to the prosecutions’ case. Fingerprint evidence would be of


great significance when the culprit’s identity is in question. In the


present case, the alleged trafficking was in the form of sale and there




is evidence showing the identities of the alleged offenders and the sale transaction. Therefore, fingerprint evidence on the flash money assumes little significance.


[35] With regard to the 2nd appellant’s defence, the learned trial judge had rejected it and deemed it as bare denial. On the totality of the evidence before the court, we find the learned trial judge’s decision on the 2nd appellant’s defence was justified. We have no reason to disturb his finding.


Ground (c): Presumption of adverse inference


[36] Learned counsel for the 1st appellant mounted an attack on the failure of the prosecution to call the owner of the motorcycle, thereby occasioning the application of the presumption of adverse inference against the prosecution’s case.


[37] Learned Deputy Public Prosecutor admitted that statement was taken from the motorcycle owner. However, she argued that the prosecution has a discretion whether or not to call a particular witness as all essential witnesses to unfolding the narrative on which the prosecution is based were called. Therefore, the discretion had been exercised in a manner in which the appellants suffered no prejudice or unfairness. She further argued that the presumption




does not arise in the present case as there was no withholding of evidence and Ng Kim Fuan was offered to the defence.


[38] A number of witnesses may have observed a criminal transaction and have their statements taken by the police. However, it is not necessary for the prosecution to produce each and every one of them. All that is required from the prosecution is to produce witnesses whose evidence can be believed so as to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. It is clear law that adverse inference under illustration (g) of section 114 Evidence Act can only be drawn if there is withholding or suppression of evidence. [See Munusamy v. Public Prosecutor [1987] 1 MLJ 492 (SC), Pekan Nenas Industries Sdn Bhd v. Chang Ching Chuen [1998] 1 MLJ 465 (FC)]


[39] In Raghubir Singh v State of U.P., AIR 1971 SC 2156, the Indian Supreme Court had this to say:


“Material witnesses considered necessary by the prosecution for unfolding the prosecution story alone need be produced without unnecessary and redundant multiplication of witnesses. The appellant’s Counsel has not shown how the prosecution story is rendered less trustworthy as a result of the non-production of the witnesses mentioned by him. No material and important




witness was deliberately kept back by the prosecution. Incidentally we may point out that the accused too have not considered it proper to produce those persons as witnesses for controverting the prosecution version.”.


[40] In our considered view, counsel’s arguments are without merit. We have examined the evidence with care and we agreed with the learned Deputy Public Prosecutor that the prosecution had discharged its burden by calling all essential witnesses to establish its case beyond reasonable doubt. Furthermore, Ng Kim Fuan was offered to the defence at the close of prosecution’s case. The defence could have called him if they so wished.


Ground (d): Entrapment


[41] Learned counsel for the 1st appellant submitted that since this case was based on a trap set up by the police, the court must be cautious with the evidence adduced by the prosecution. In support of his submission, learned counsel cited the case of R v. Looseley [2001] 4 ALL ER 897, in which Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead stated as follows:


“Every court has an inherent power and duty to prevent abuse of its process. This is a fundamental principle of the rule of law. By recourse to this principle courts ensure that executive agents of the state do not misuse




the coercive, law enforcement functions of the courts and thereby oppress citizens of the state. Entrapment, with which these two appeals are concerned, is an instance where such misuse may occur. It is simply not acceptable that the state through its agents should lure its citizens into committing acts forbidden by the law and then seek to prosecute them for doing so. That would be entrapment. That would be a misuse of state power, and an abuse of the process of the courts. The unattractive consequences, frightening and sinister in extreme cases, which state conduct of this nature could have are obvious. The role of the courts is to stand between the state and its citizens and make sure this does not happen.”


[42] Learned counsel submitted that the underlying principle gleaned from the foregoing extract is that the court may exercise its discretionary powers when confronted with the evidence of an agent provocateur. The court may exclude the evidence, or grant a stay of proceedings to prevent an abuse of process.


[43] Before we consider the merits or otherwise of the appellants’ submission, we must reiterate that the local position on entrapment is still consistent with the decision of R v. Sang [1979] 2 All ER 1222, and it is not a valid defence to a charge. Lord Diplock said (at 437) that “The court is not concerned with how the evidence was




obtained. It is no ground for the exercise of discretion to exclude that the evidence was obtained as the result of the activities of an agent of provocateur.”.


[44] Our answer to the counsel’s submission is, it is common for the police to employ the use of agent provocateurs due to difficulty faced in detecting the crime. It has been proven to be effective in unveiling the identities of drug traffickers and having them out of obscurity. In the fight against the drug menace, the legislature has deemed it fit that evidence of an agent provocateur be admissible. Section 40A(1) of the DDA 1952 provides that no agent provocateur shall be presumed to be unworthy of credit by reason only of his having attempted to abet or abetted the commission of an offence if the attempt to abet or abetment was for the sole purpose of securing evidence against such person. It is an established principle of law that an agent provocateur’s evidence requires no corroboration and that an accused person can be convicted on the uncorroborated evidence of the agent provocateur if the court accepts the truth of the evidence (see Wan Yurillhami Wan Yaacob & Anor v. PP [2010] 1 CLJ 17, Namasiyiam Doraisamy v. PP & Other Cases [1987] CLJ (Rep) 241, Tee Thian See v. Public Prosecutor [1997] 5 CLJ 654;




[1996] 3 MLJ 209 and Public Prosecutor v. Mohamed Halipah


[1981] CLJ 238 (Rep); [1981] CLJ 92; [1982] 1 MLJ 155).


[45] Section 40A(2) of the DDA 1952 states that “any statement, whether oral or in writing made to an agent provocateur by any person who subsequently is charged with an offence under this Act shall be admissible as evidence at his trial”. The subsection denotes that the court has no discretion to refuse to admit evidence by an agent provocateur.


[46] We are mindful that in the present case, the prosecution’s case was based primarily on the evidence of SP4 and SP6 to prove the ingredients of the offence. The trial judge had indeed subjected the evidence of both witnesses to the closest scrutiny before accepting them. Therefore, there was no error warranting appellate intervention into the learned trial judge’s finding.


[47] To our mind, even if the principles espoused in the English case above is applicable in the local context, it does not render any assistance to the appellants. The court in Looseley observed that if the circumstances showed that the police had overstepped the boundary by holding out excessive or unfair inducement, the court may stay the proceedings to prevent abuse of process. After a




careful reading of the appeal record, we find that the policemen’s conduct could not be regarded as objectionable or excessive inducement.


[48] In this regard, it will be instructive to refer the following passage of the case of Nottingham City Council v. Amin [2000] 2 All ER 946, cited in Looseley:


“It has been recognised that the law enforcement agencies have a general duty to the public to enforce the law and it has been regarded as unobjectionable if a law enforcement officer gives a defendant an opportunity to break the law, of which the defendant freely takes advantage, in circumstances where it appears that the defendant would have behaved in the same way if the opportunity had been offered by anyone else. ”


[49] In R v Mack [1988] 44 S.C.C. (3rd) 513 (S.C.C.), the Supreme Court of Canada stated that with respect to the crime of drug trafficking, the state must be given substantial leeway. This offence “is not one which lends itself to the traditional of police investigation”. The court added that it is a “crime of enormous social consequences which causes a great deal of harm in society generally. The court concluded that “this factor alone is very critical” [At page 560]. (See




also Mohamed Emran bin Mohamed Ali v. Public Prosecutor


[2008] 4 SLR 411).


[50] In his last attempt to clutch at the elusive legal straws, learned counsel argued that the entrapment carried out by the police officers constituted a reason for the court to exercise its discretion to convict them on a lesser offence (i.e possession) instead of that arising out of the entrapment (i.e. trafficking). The appellant cited the case of Ong Chin Keat Jeffrey v. Public Prosecutor [2004] 4 SLR 483 in support of his arguments.


[51] We took the view that the 1st appellant’s argument in this regard was without merit. As we have alluded to earlier, the prosecution had succeeded in proving all the requisite elements of trafficking. The mere fact that the police officers happened to play the role of purchasers did not detract from the fact that the appellants were trafficking in dangerous drugs. The facts and circumstances of the present appeal does not warrant the court to amend the charge to one dealing with a lesser offence.




[52] After having read the appeal record, we are satisfied that no miscarriage of justice was occasioned in this case. The appellants




had every opportunity to raise a reasonable doubt in the prosecution case. Further, the learned trial judge did consider the appellants’ defence in detail at the end of which, his Lordship was satisfied that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.


[53] In the result, the appeals were dismissed and the convictions and sentences imposed by the learned trial judge affirmed.


Dated: 28 January 2014 sgd.






Court of Appeal Malaysia


Counsel for the Appellants: Salim bin Bashir Bhaskaran In appeal P-05-295-11/2011 Messrs. Salim Bashir Ruswiza & Co.


No. 54A, Tingkat 1, Blok 4 Worldwide Business Park Jalan Wushu 13/47, Seksyen 13 40675 Shah Alam Selangor


Counsel for the Appellants: Kitson Foong


In appeal P-05-296-11/2011 Tetuan Ahmad Zaidi & Partners


J-1-10, Block J, Jalan PJU 1A Taipan Damansara 2 Ara Damansara 47301 Petaling Jaya Selangor




Counsel for the Respondent: In appeal P-05-295-11/2011 & P-05-296-11/2011 Aslinda Ahad Timbalan Pendakwa Raya Jabatan Peguam Negara Bahagian Perbicaraan dan Rayuan No. 45, Persiaran Perdana Presint 4 62100 Putrajaya.



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