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20 May 2021

Aggregated Caning and the Risk of Double or Disproportionate Punishments: Yuen Ye Ming v Public Prosecutor [2020] SGCA 80

Amanda Clift-Matthews

Published on e-First 20 May 2021

In Yuen Ye Ming v Public Prosecutor [2020] 2 SLR 970, the Court of Appeal dismissed an application for leave to bring a criminal reference under s 397 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap 68, 2012 Rev Ed) on the question of whether a sentencing judge had the power to direct that multiple sentences of caning be imposed concurrently. This article considers whether the Court of Appeal was right to conclude that it is “settled law” that strokes of the cane must be ordered consecutively and that no further analysis is needed. The article also advances that there is a critical need for judges to impose concurrent sentences of caning, whether through development of the common law or statutory amendment, in order to avoid aggregated mandatory minimum strokes of the cane being disproportionate.