Bribery: Fine Imposed Instead of Imprisonment

High Court allows appeal


1. Introduction

Suang Wijaya and Haziq Ika bin Zahidi acted for an offender who pleaded guilty to three charges of bribery under Section 6(b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act Singapore (“PCA”), with two remaining PCA charges taken into consideration for purposes of sentencing.

The total amount of gratification involved was less than SGD 30,000. The Prosecution did not argue that any party had suffered detriment or loss.

Before the District Judge, we vigorously argued that a fine was just and fair. However, the District Judge disagreed with our submission. The District Judge sentenced the offender to three-months’ imprisonment.

Dissatisfied, our client appealed against the sentence imposed by the District Judge.

We had conduct of the appeal. We submitted among other things that, based on the evidence before her, the District Judge was clearly wrong to find that:- (a) our client had “initiated” the bribes; (b) there was “substantial benefit” which had accrued to our client; and (c) there was a “significant degree of persistent offending”.


2. The Appeal

The appeal came up for hearing before a High Court Judge on 4 October 2019. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Judge allowed the appeal. The Judge agreed with us that it was manifest that an imprisonment sentence was not justified. The Judge quashed the imprisonment sentence. A fine was imposed instead.


3. Conclusion

We are pleased with the result of this case. As we previously mentioned in Amicable Resolution of Criminal Case, as criminal lawyers we take seriously our professional duty to pursue every reasonable defence and raise every favourable factor in accordance with the law. This duty applies equally to persons convicted of crime, even serious crime.