Ilechukwu Uchechukwu Chukwudi v Public Prosecutor [2017] SGCA 44


2017

We have acted for the accused in this case since 2013 as assigned counsel under the Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences. In 2014, we had conduct of the accused’s trial, in which the High Court judge acquitted the accused of the charge of drug trafficking (Public Prosecutor v Hamidah Bte Awang and another [2015] SGHC 4). However in 2015, the Court of Appeal reversed the High Court judge’s acquittal and convicted him the accused as charged. The Court of Appeal then remitted the matter to the High Court judge to rule on whether the accused should be sentenced to death, or to life imprisonment (Public Prosecutor v Ilechukwu Uchechukwu Chukwudi [2015] SGCA 33).

In 2017, while the High Court sentencing proceedings were still on-going, we had conduct of the applicant’s application to the Court of Appeal to review its previous decision in 2015. This was on the basis that certain medical evidence which transpired after the Court of Appeal’s 2015 decision showed there was a powerful probability that the Court of Appeal made an error in convicting the accused. For the first time in Singapore’s legal history, the Court of Appeal agreed with us that there was a powerful probability that it had made an error in its 2015 decision. The Court of Appeal accordingly remitted the matter to the High Court judge, to hear further evidence and make findings on issues arising from the new medical evidence. At a subsequent stage, the Court of Appeal will then make a final decision on whether the appellant is guilty or innocent.

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