Legislative Amendments to Clarify Process for Post Appeal Applications in Capital Cases
7 November 2022 Posted in Press releases
- Today, the Ministry of Law introduced the Post-appeal Applications in Capital Cases Bill (“the Bill”) for First Reading in Parliament, to clarify the process for post-appeal applications in capital cases (“PACC Applications”). The Bill aims to safeguard the administration of justice and the rule of law.
I. New procedure for PACC Applications
- The key features of the new procedure for PACC Applications are as follows1:
a. Only the Court of Appeal (“CA”) may hear PACC Applications and grant a stay of execution of the sentence.
b. The prisoner awaiting capital punishment (“PACP”) will be required to apply for permission to make a PACC Application. The application for permission may be heard by a single Judge exercising the CA’s jurisdiction, who may deal with it without an oral hearing.
c. The PACP will be required to state, among others, the grounds of the PACC Application and the reasons for not filing the application earlier.
d. In deciding whether to grant permission, the CA is to consider:
(i) Whether the application is based on material that could not have been adduced in court before the relevant date, even with reasonable diligence2;
(ii) Whether there was a delay in filing the application after the PACP or the PACP’s counsel obtained the material, and the reasons for the delay;
(iii) Whether the prescribed supporting documents have been filed; and
(iv) Whether the application has a reasonable prospect of success.
e. The CA may make incidental directions and interim orders.
f. Where the PACP had previously been found by the CA to have abused the court’s process in a relevant application3, or to have abused the court’s process in any other application or action to frustrate or delay the carrying out of the capital sentence, that was filed on or after the commencement date of the Bill, the CA must not grant permission unless the PACP adduces material that was not, and could not have been even with reasonable diligence, adduced before the most recent such finding.
g. If permission is granted, the PACC Application must be filed within a specified period, and a hearing before a coram of three or more Judges will be fixed.
h. A warrant of execution may be carried out, unless:
(i) The President has ordered a respite of the execution of the warrant;
(ii) The CA has granted a stay of execution; or
(iii) There is an application for permission to apply for a stay of execution, or an application for a stay of execution, which has been filed in the CA and served on the Singapore Prison Service in the prescribed manner4.
i. The CA may, on its own motion or upon the application of the Public Prosecutor or Attorney-General, decide whether to find that the PACP or the PACP’s counsel had abused the court process (in the case of a relevant application) or abused the court process in order to delay or frustrate the carrying out of the capital sentence (in the case of an application (other than a relevant application) or action). In deciding whether there had been such an abuse of process, the CA may take additional evidence, and may also inquire into and take into account any non-compliance with the applicable procedure for relevant applications.
II. Alignment of procedures for applications to review concluded criminal appeals under the Criminal Procedure Code 2010 (“CPC”) and PACC Applications
- Where appropriate, the procedure for applications to review concluded criminal appeals under Division 1B of Part 20 of the CPC will be aligned with the new procedure for PACC Applications.
MINISTRY OF LAW
MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS
7 NOVEMBER 2022
1. Examples of PACC Applications include (a) an application for a stay of execution of a capital sentence, (b) a judicial review application challenging the President’s decision not to grant clemency, and (c) a judicial review application challenging the Public Prosecutor’s decision not to grant a certificate of substantive assistance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1973.↩
2. For a PACP’s first PACC Application, the relevant date is the date when the capital sentence was upheld, confirmed or imposed by the CA. For a PACP’s second or subsequent PACC Application where an earlier application for PACC permission (which is not an application for PACC permission for the second or subsequent PACC Application in question) or PACC Application has been determined, the relevant date for the making of the second or subsequent PACC Application in question is the date of the most recent determination of any such application.↩
3. “Relevant application” refers to PACC Applications, applications for PACC permission, review applications under the Criminal Procedure Code 2010 relating to a capital case, and applications for permission to make review applications relating to a capital case.↩
4. Para 2(h)(iii) will not apply where: a) the application for permission to apply for a stay of execution, or the application for a stay of execution, was filed by a PACP who had previously been found by the CA to have (i) abused the court’s process in relation to a relevant application that was filed on or after the commencement date of the Bill, or (ii) abused the court’s process in order to delay or frustrate the carrying out of the capital sentence in relation to an application (other than a relevant application) or an action that was filed on or after the commencement date of the Bill; and b) the PACP does not have the CA’s permission to make a PACC Application or review application under Division 1B of Part 20 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2010 relating to a capital case. ↩
Last updated on 7 November 2022