fbpx

Can One Conspire With Another to Traffic Drugs to Oneself?


2017

Liew Zheng Yang v Public Prosecutor [2017] SGHC 157

 

1. Introduction

We acted for Liew Zheng Yang (“Liew”), in his appeal case.

Liew faced 2 charges as below.

Liew’s charge read

You, […], are charged that you, on 23 September 2014, sometime at night, in Singapore, did abet by engaging in a conspiracy with one Xia Fanyu… to do a certain thing, to wit, to traffic in a Class ‘A’ controlled drug listed in the First Schedule of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185, 2008 Rev Ed), namely one plastic wrapping containing not less than…of vegetable matter which was analysed and found to be cannabis, and in pursuance of that conspiracy and in order to the doing of that thing, on 24 September 2014, at about 4.02am, at Woodlands Checkpoint, Singapore, the said Xia Fanyu had in his possession for the purpose of trafficking the said drug, which was to be delivered to you in exchange for cash, without any authorisation under the said Act or the Regulations made thereunder, and you have thereby committed an offence under Section 5(1)(a) read with Section 5(2) and Section 12 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185, 2008 Rev Ed) and punishable under Section 33(1) of the said Act.

You, […], are charged that you, on 23 September 2014, sometime at night, in Singapore, did abet by engaging in a conspiracy with one Xia Fanyu… to do a certain thing, to wit, to traffic in a Class ‘A’ controlled drug listed in the First Schedule of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185, 2008 Rev Ed), namely one plastic wrapping containing not less than…of vegetable matter which was analysed and found to be cannabis, and in pursuance of that conspiracy and in order to the doing of that thing, on 24 September 2014, at about 4.02am, at Woodlands Checkpoint, Singapore, the said Xia Fanyu had in his possession for the purpose of trafficking the said drug, which was to be delivered to you in exchange for cash, without any authorisation under the said Act or the Regulations made thereunder, and you have thereby committed an offence under Section 5(1)(a) read with Section 5(2) and Section 12 of the Misuse of Drugs Act (Cap 185, 2008 Rev Ed) and punishable under Section 33(1) of the said Act.

In Public Prosecutor v Liew Zheng Yang [2017] SGDC 21 at [39], the District Court held that the conspiracy charges above were made out because there was an agreement between Liew and the seller, “to get the drugs and to deliver the drugs” to him and that “[T]he agreement to deliver the drugs to Liew was therefore an agreement to traffic the drugs to Liew.”

In Liew’s appeal case, he raised a novel point of law as to whether a buyer who orders drugs from a seller for delivery to the buyer can be guilty of abetting the seller in a conspiracy to traffic the drugs even if the drugs were intended solely for the buyer’s own consumption.

 

2. DC’s conviction was wrong in law

We successfully argued that the District Court’s conviction of the appellant for the charge of conspiring with another to traffic drugs to himself was wrong in law.

The High Court judge accepted our submission that where an accused orders drugs from another for his own consumption, the accused cannot be liable for a conspiracy to traffic drugs to himself.

 

3. Conclusion

The High Court judge accordingly quashed the appellant’s wrong conviction. The High Court judge then convicted him with the lesser (and legally correct) charge of attempting to possess drugs for his own consumption.

LAWYERS WITH A HEART

make an appointment