14 Feb 2012 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Ms Sylvia Lim, Aljunied GRC
To ask the Minister for Law (a) how many victim compensation orders have been granted by the courts under section 359 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2010 since the Code came into force; (b) what was the range of compensation amounts awarded and for what types of offences; and (c) whether there has been any increase in the number of such orders granted on an annual basis compared to that under the former Code.
- Section 359 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2010 (“CPC 2010”) makes it mandatory for the Court which convicts an offender to consider whether to order the offender to compensate the victim. Previously, section 401(1)(b) of the repealed Criminal Procedure Code (Chapter 68, 1985 Revised Edition) only empowered the court to make a compensation order. As I said in my Second Reading speech, the change is intended make the criminal justice process more meaningful to victims of crime.
- The Courts’ philosophy has moved in tandem with the legislative intent. In Public Prosecutor v AOB  2 SLR 793, the Chief Justice described the power to order compensation as a “benign and useful power” which should be exercised by the Courts in suitable cases. The Chief Justice added that:
- "Such cases would include those where the offender has caused the victim physical injury in respect of which the victim would be entitled to claim damages in a civil action. Compensation orders are particularly suitable and appropriate for victims who may have no financial means or have other difficulties in commencing civil proceedings for damages against the offender."
- At the same time, the judgment of the Chief Justice recognised that it is not possible to make compensation orders in every case. For example, compensation will only be ordered in clear and straightforward cases, and will not be ordered against impecunious offenders.
- The prosecutors in the Attorney-General’s Chambers are also mindful of the Court’s duty under section 359. After the CPC 2010 came into force, prosecutors have in appropriate cases submitted for and successfully obtained compensation orders.
- As of 7 February 2012:
- There have been 82 compensation orders made since the CPC 2010 came into force on 2 January 2011. This is an increase from the 31 compensation orders which were made in 2010.
- Of the 82 orders, more than 75% were made in relation to cases involving the causing of hurt, mischief, and theft.
- Of the 82 orders, the quantum of compensation was less than $1,000 for about 70% of the cases, and less than $3,000 for about 90% of the cases.
- We will study the judicial practice in this area, as part of our continuing review of the operation of the CPC 2010.
Last updated on 25 Nov 2012