From the Attorney General's Chambers, 17 June 2012:
We refer to the media reports about the case against Woffles Wu.
2 Woffles Wu was charged for abetting his employee Kuan to give false information to the police about the commission of speeding offenses in 2005 and 2006. Kuan gave the false information. Woffles Wu, who did not give any information to the police, was charged with abetting Kuan to do so, which is an offence under s 81(3) of the Road Traffic Act. There was no evidence of payment or gratification given to Kuan. Kuan, who is 82 years old, was given a stern warning.
3 In general, fines or short custodial sentences are imposed for wilfully providing false information, under s 81(3) Road Traffic Act. Custodial sentences are typically imposed under this section when there are aggravating features, such as many instances of the offence committed by the same person.
4 Some media reports refer to cases in which imprisonment term has been imposed under s 204A of the Penal Code. The accused could not have been charged under that provision for intentionally perverting the course of justice (which is a more serious charge compared with s 81(3) of the Road Traffic Act). This is because the accused committed his offence in 2006, before s 204A of the Penal Code was enacted in 2008. The position of the accused is therefore different from others who were subject to s 204A and who have been punished with a term of imprisonment.
5 The charge preferred against an accused person would be calibrated to reflect the seriousness of the criminal act and the fact situation, and whether the legislation inquestion provides a specific provision dealing with the criminal act or whether reliance has to be placed on general legislation such as the Penal Code. On the facts of this case, as there was no major accident or injury, it was considered appropriate to proceed under s 81(3) of the Road Traffic Act rather than invoke the general provisions of the Penal Code, such as s 182. Other sections have their own requirements, which would not have been met on the facts of the present case. Prior to 2008, offences of this nature were generally dealt with under s 81 (3) of the Road Traffic Act.
Law Minister, K Shanmugam, also posted about the case on his Facebook page. We re-post it in full as follows:
There has been a lot of comment on the case of Dr Woffles Wu. I asked AGC to let me have their position and the answers to the questions that hav been raised. Basically people have asked 4 questions :
(1) why was he not charged under s204 of the Penal Code, and instead was charged under the RTA. The Penal Code charge would carry a heavier sentence is what is used now
(2) Why was he charged for abetment
(3) why was Dr Wu imposed only with a fine under the RTA
(4) Why has it taken so long for the case to come to court when the offence took place in 2006. I spoke witht he media and gave answers to the 4 questions, based on what I ws told by the AGC.
Emphasised 2 other points as well : that the decision to prosecute is made by AGC independantly and the sentence is imposed by the court also independantly. Until the court delivers a written judgement we wont know the reasons for the precise reasons for the decision.
Second, the speeding offence is still being investigated. When that is completed there may be further prosecution. With that in mind, the answers to the 4 questions are as follows :
(1) Dr Wu could not be charged under s204 of the Penal Code because that only came into force in 2008. Dr Wu's offense was committed in 2006. You cant charge anyone who committed an offense in 2006 under a provision which came into force in 2008.
(2) He was charged for abetment because the actual info was given by Mr Kuan. Dr Wu didnt give the info and could not be charged directlyfor giving false info. AGC didnt charge Mr Kuan, I assume because he was old and AGC probably took into account the employer-employe relationship, and that justice will probably be best served by charging Dr Wu
(3) why was he imposed only with a fine. We will know the reasons if the court gives a written judgment. Can only guess at this stage, at what the reasons might be. I was told by AGC that there was no evidence of any money being paid, there were no repeated offences, as well as a few other possible reasons. AGC also told me that a fine , under these circumstances would be within the norm
(4) why has it taken so long - when the info was first given in 2006, Police assumed it to be correct. It was only more recently that the Police found out about the offence, through a complaint that was received.