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Call for the defence

After the prosecution has called all their witnesses, the court will decide if the prosecution has presented a sufficiently strong case for you to answer the charges. The table below explains how the court may decide, and the corresponding outcome of its decision.

If the court finds... This means...
The prosecution's case to be sufficiently strong for you to answer the chargesThe trial continues and you will be asked to present your defence
The prosecution's case lacks evidence to satisfy each and every element of the charge (1).
The case is dismissed and you are acquitted of the charge

You will be given 2 options when the court asks you to present your defence if the prosecution's case is found to be sufficient.

Your options What this means
Choose to give evidence from the witness stand under oathYou will be cross-examined by the prosecution.
Choose to remain silent and not give evidence

The court will decide the case based on the evidence presented by the prosecution. The court may, however, draw all reasonable inferences, including those that may be against you.

Regardless of your choice, you can call upon your witnesses to give evidence to in support of your case.

Standard allocution for call for the defence

A standard allocution is a formal statement made by the judge during the trial. The following statement will be read to you, after which you will be asked if you choose to give evidence or to remain silent.

"I find that the prosecution has made out a case against you on the charge(s) on which you are being tried. There is some evidence, not inherently incredible, that satisfies each and every element of the charge(s).

Accordingly, I call upon you to give evidence in your own defence. You have two courses open to you. First, if you elect to give evidence you must give it from the witness box, on oath or affirmation, and be liable to cross-examination. Second, if you elect not to give evidence in the witness box, that is to say, remain silent, then I must tell you that the court in deciding whether you are guilty or not, may draw such inferences as appear proper from your refusal to give evidence, including inferences that may be adverse to you.

Let me also say, whichever course you take, it is open to you to call other evidence in your own defence. You may confer with your counsel on the course you wish to take.

I now call upon you to give evidence in your own defence. How do you elect?"

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

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