Entrapment is a controversial topic in criminal law. The defence of entrapment arises when a person is induced to commit a crime that they would not have committed but for the actions of a law enforcement officer.
This article aims to provide an overview of entrapment in Singapore criminal law, including its definition and legality.
Entrapment In Singapore Criminal Law
Entrapment arises when a person is induced to commit a crime that they would not have committed but for the actions of a state agent. The defence of entrapment is based on the principle that it is unfair for the state to induce someone to commit a crime and then punish them for it.
This can be commonly seen in drug trafficking or drug trade related crimes.
A Likely Scenario
Suppose a person, John, is approached by an undercover policeman who offers to sell him illegal drugs. John initially declines, but the police officer persists, saying that the drugs are of high quality and at a very low price. The officer also tells John that he will not be caught as he has insider information about police operations.
After further pressure from the officer, John eventually agrees to buy the drugs. However, as soon as he hands over the money, he is arrested and charged with possessing illegal drugs.
In this police entrapment scenario, John may be able to raise the defence of entrapment because the police officer used undue pressure and persuasion to induce him to commit the crime.
The officer initiated the criminal conduct by offering to sell drugs, and he persisted in his attempts to persuade John to commit the crime even after John initially declined.
This would be an example of entrapment because the actions of the law enforcement officers were not merely an opportunity for John to commit the offence but were instead a direct inducement to commit the crime.
How Entrapment Differs From Instigation
Entrapment is different from instigation. Instigation occurs when a person is persuaded or encouraged to commit a crime by someone who is not a state agent.
Requirements For Entrapment Defense
In Singapore, for the defence of entrapment to succeed, the accused must show that:
- The accused was induced to commit the crime
- The inducement came from a state agent
- The inducement was wrongful
Inducement refers to the actions of a state agent that led the accused to commit the crime. The inducement must be more than mere suggestion or temptation. It must be such that it would have caused a law-abiding person to commit the offence, and that they had no prior criminal tendencies.
Legality Of Entrapment Defense In Singapore Criminal Law
Singapore Courts’ Stance On Entrapment Defense
The defence of entrapment is recognized by the Singapore criminal justice system. However, it is a defence of last resort and is narrowly construed. Singapore courts have held that entrapment is a two-edged sword in criminal proceedings.
On the one hand, it may help to convict criminals who would otherwise escape the law. On the other hand, it may encourage law enforcement agents to engage in unacceptable behaviour.
Admissibility Of Entrapment Based Evidence
In Singapore, evidence obtained from entrapment may be admissible in court. This means that even if the defence of entrapment is raised, the evidence of the crime committed by the accused may still be used to prove their guilt.
The court will examine the entrapment’s circumstances to determine whether the evidence obtained is admissible. The court will consider factors such as the degree of inducement, the nature of the offence, and whether the entrapment was unlawful.
Suppose the court finds the entrapment unlawful, such as through violence or coercion. In that case, the evidence obtained may be excluded as it violated the accused’s rights.
However, if the court finds that the entrapment was done legally, then the evidence obtained may be admitted as it was obtained through legitimate means.
It is important to note that while evidence obtained from entrapment may be admissible, it may not always be sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The court will still need to consider all the evidence in the case and determine whether the prosecution has proven their case against the accused.
Limits Of Entrapment Defence In Singapore
Prohibition On Entrapment As A Tactic
Singapore law enforcement agencies are not allowed to use entrapment to catch criminals. This means that the police cannot actively induce someone to commit a crime to prosecute them. The courts have taken a strong stance against such practices and have held that it is not in the public interest for law enforcement agencies to use such tactics.
Even if the entrapment defence is raised, the court may still find the accused guilty if the entrapment was done unlawfully. For example, if the state agent used threats, coercion or violence to induce the accused to commit the crime, the entrapment defence may not succeed.
Entrapment As A Mitigating Factor
The defence of entrapment may not necessarily lead to an acquittal. Even if the defence is successful, the court may believe that the accused is still guilty of the crime but that the sentence should be reduced due to the entrapment.
In such cases, the court may consider factors such as the degree of inducement, the level of criminality involved in the offence, and the accused’s prior criminal record.
In summary, while the defence of entrapment is recognized in Singapore criminal law, there are limits to its use. Even if the defence is raised, the court may still find the accused guilty if the entrapment was done unlawfully.
Finally, even if the defence is successful, the court may consider the degree of inducement when determining the appropriate sentence.
Conclusion On Entrapment In Singapore
Entrapment is a defence that can be raised in Singapore criminal law when law enforcement agents induce an accused to commit an offence. However, there are limits to this defence, and the courts will closely examine the circumstances surrounding the entrapment to determine whether the defence is applicable.
The courts will consider factors such as the degree of inducement, the nature of the offence, and whether the entrapment was unlawful.
The defence of entrapment is a complex area of Singapore criminal law that requires careful consideration of the circumstances surrounding the alleged offence. Anyone facing criminal charges in Singapore should seek legal advice from a qualified criminal defence lawyer to understand their legal rights and options.
Frequently Asked Questions About Entrapment In Singapore
What Is Entrapment?
Entrapment is a defence that can be raised when an accused is induced to commit an offence by law enforcement agents.
How Can I Prove That I Was Entrapped?
To prove entrapment, the accused must show that law enforcement agents induced them to commit the offence and that they would not have committed the offence if not for the inducement.
What Should I Do If I Believe I Have Been Entrapped?
If you believe you have been entrapped, seek legal advice from a qualified criminal defence lawyer. A lawyer can advise you on your rights and options and help you navigate the legal process.
Should I Hire A Criminal Defence Lawyer If I’m Facing Criminal Charges And Believe I May Have Been Entrapped?
It is highly recommended that you seek legal advice from a qualified criminal defence lawyer if you have been entrapped. A criminal defence lawyer can advise you on your rights and options under the law and help you navigate the legal process.