A nurse who attended to an unconscious man in hospital found drugs near his crotch. After a trial at the State Courts, the man was sentenced to 43 months’ jail last year.
But D Rashpal Singh Sidhu, 52, successfully appealed against his conviction, with a High Court judge ruling last Thursday (7 February) that the prosecution had failed to prove that Singh had the drug and knew about it while he was conscious. He was not represented by a lawyer at the appeal.
Singh had been found lying unconscious at a void deck. He remained unconscious while being conveyed to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
Later, a nurse found a red straw containing drugs near the man’s crotch.
A District Judge had last year agreed with the prosecution and ruled that the location where the straw was found meant that it could only have come from him.
Rebutting Singh’s appeal at the High Court, the prosecution reiterated that the straw could not have come from the hospital bed, blanket or nurses. Singh was also not a credible witness, and there was nothing to substantiate his assertion of being framed.
Given that the drugs were also in an intimate place near his crotch, Singh can be inferred to have had known about its presence, the prosecution contended.
But Justice Aedit Abdullah, who heard the appeal, said in judgement grounds released on Monday (11 February) that there was no evidence at the trial to show that Singh knew of the existence of the drugs either before, or when it was found on him.
To prove Singh’s possession of the drugs, the prosecution also had to prove that he had physical control over the straw.
“In discharging its burden of proof, it was insufficient for the prosecution to assert that there was no other reasonable way (the straw) could have appeared at (Singh’s) crotch area, without at least establishing the circumstances during or leading up to the period when he was unconscious,” said the judge.
He added, “This was not a situation where an unconscious offender had been found in possession of drugs in a locked room that only he had access to.”
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