Prosecutorial Discretion Revisited

Siyuan CHEN, Singapore Management University


Quek Hock Lye is the latest of three very recent Court of Appeal decisions that addresses the constitutional challenge against the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in the context of the Misuse of Drugs Act (the other two decisions being Ramalingam Ravinthran v Attorney General and Yong Vui Kong v Public Prosecutor).

In Quek Hock Lye, the appellant Q was convicted of participating in a criminal conspiracy with W and S to traffic in not less than 62.14 grams of diamorphine (thus attracting the mandatory death penalty). Before Q’s trial began, W had pleaded guilty to a separate charge of possession of not less than 14.99 grams of diamorphine in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy with Q and S to traffic the said drugs (thus avoiding the mandatory death penalty). On appeal, Q argued that as both W and Q fell within the same class of accused persons and shared the same legal guilt (in that both were charged for trafficking diamorphine and were in possession of the same amount of diamorphine),it was unconstitutional for the Prosecution to have charge Q as it did.