Can You Be Guilty of Trafficking Without Knowledge?
In another “first” for Singapore criminal defence lawyers, our Mr. R. Thrumurgan secured an acquittal of our client on capital drug trafficking charges. This was the first case in Singapore where the defence of not knowing the exact nature of the drugs was successful.
Our client was Phuthita Somchit, a 35-year old Thai National, who was charged together with her Singaporean boyfriend for conspiring to traffic in heroin. Our client was in possession of 62g of heroin when she was arrested at the condominium unit where she resided with her boyfriend.
This was a particularly difficult case as Somchit had admitted, in her statements to investigators from the Central Narcotics Bureau, to knowing that she was helping her boyfriend to pack drugs for resale, take orders from customers, give instructions for the delivery of the drugs to customers and had also collected monies and kept accounts. Our client was also presumed by the provisions of the Misuse of Drugs Acts to know that the drugs involved were heroin.
In assessing the evidence and after detailed interviews with our client, our Mr. R. Thrumurgan argued at the trial that, whilst Somchit client knew that she was dealing in drugs, she never knew that it was heroin. Mr. R. Thrumurgan further argued that our client was rendered blind and was not wilfully blind as she had trusted her boyfriend who had rescued her from the streets and with whom she had plans for marriage.
The High Court accepted Somchit’s defence and acquitted her of the capital charge. The Prosecution subsequently withdrew its appeal against the acquittal.