Oral Answer by Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam, to Parliamentary Question on the reasons for not pressing charges against Mr Liew Kai Lung Karl
08 May 2023 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Ms Hazel Poa (Non-Constituency Member of Parliament)
To ask the Minister for Law (a) what are the reasons for not pressing charges against Mr Liew Kai Lung Karl under section 177 of the Penal Code for furnishing false information to a public servant and section 193 of the Penal Code for giving false evidence, as announced by the Police on 4 November 2020; and (b) whether he will ask the Attorney-General to make the reasons public.
1. In November 2020, the Prosecution preferred two charges against Mr Liew under sections 177 and 193 of the Penal Code. These charges were for furnishing false information to the Police and giving false evidence in judicial proceedings, respectively. Mr Liew eventually pleaded guilty in March 2023 to an amended charge under section 182 of the Penal Code for giving a false statement in Court (instead of under section 193 of the Penal Code). The other charge against him under section 177 of the Penal Code for giving false information to the Police was taken into consideration for the purposes of sentencing.
2. Members will be aware that it is normal for the Attorney-General’s Chambers (“AGC”) to proceed on amended charges (in this case, the section 182 charge), as well as to take other charges into consideration for the purposes of sentencing when an individual elects to plead guilty. This is regularly done; in fact, it is the norm in cases involving a plea of guilt. On this, I should highlight that the Member’s statement that the Prosecution did not press charges under section 177 of the Penal Code against Mr Liew is not accurate. It gives the impression that the charge was not before the Court or was otherwise withdrawn. The charge was in fact taken into consideration, meaning it would be considered for the purposes of sentencing.
3. There was therefore nothing exceptional about how this case was dealt with.
4. As for the Member’s suggestion that the Attorney-General make the reasons public, I should clarify that the Attorney-General had recused himself from this case. This was disclosed to the House previously.
5. It was the AGC which decided to prefer charges against Mr Liew in the first place, and they carefully considered the facts. In assessing the charges to proceed on and to take into consideration in a plea of guilt, factors which are generally taken into account by the AGC include the strength of the Prosecution’s case, the accused person’s level of co-operation with the investigation authorities and any relevant personal mitigating circumstances.
6. In Mr Liew’s case, the Prosecution considered these same general factors in deciding to accede to the representations made by Mr Liew’s lawyers and accept the guilty plea by Mr Liew.
Last updated on 08 May 2023