Are amendments to Misuse of Drugs Act necessary?

9 July 2019

In the wake of the recent Court of Appeal decision in Adili Chibuike Ejike v Public Prosecutor [2019] SGCA 38 in relation to how the concept of “wilful blindness” should apply to persons accused of drug trafficking, a question was posed in Parliament on 8 July 2019 as to whether the government should make any amendments to the present legislation. In brief, Mr Adili Chibuike Ejike was acquitted of drug trafficking after the Court of Appeal found that he had not known that there were drugs in his suitcase.

TODAY approached two senior criminal lawyers for their views, and both opined that the said decision, in and of itself, was not sufficient or good reason to do so.

Ramesh Tiwary:

“Presumptions are not evidence … so I don’t think we need to load more presumptions into the (Act) when we are faced with capital punishment. You don’t want to hang somebody when you are not sure that a person actually should have known that there are drugs (in his possession).”

Eugene Thuraisingam:

“[Adili’s case] stands for a very simple proposition. If on the one hand, the prosecution makes an important concession in that they accepted that the person did not know there were drugs in the bag … they cannot then go on to rely on the presumption (that he did). That would be logically inconsistent. So the issue really is the concession made by the Prosecution.”


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