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Disclosure in Criminal Proceedings: Developments and Issues Ahead

Chen Siyuan

(2022) 34 SAcLJ 51

The last decade or so witnessed very significant changes to the disclosure regime for criminal proceedings in Singapore. These came mainly in the form of the enactment of the current Criminal Procedure Code, as well as the landmark cases of Muhammad bin Kadar v Public Prosecutor [2011] 3 SLR 1205 and Muhammad Nabill bin Mohd Fuad v Public Prosecutor [2020] 1 SLR 984. This article surveys all relevant developments since the enactment of the Criminal Procedure Code and considers some of the issues that may lie ahead, such as whether unused statements of witnesses called by the Prosecution should be disclosed, and how admissibility and privilege feature. This article also briefly examines developments in several major common law jurisdictions regarding criminal disclosure as well as wider trends in our criminal justice landscape. It observes that although certain crime control elements remain, there is a discernible shift in our criminal justice system to a greater recognition of due process. Nonetheless, charting the way forward may not be a simple as placing greater weight on due process, given lingering issues concerning admissibility under the Criminal Procedure Code and the interface between litigation privilege and the Prosecution's disclosure obligations.