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State Courts media statement on the case of Mr Teo Seng Tiong

1 Mr Teo Seng Tiong was sentenced in the State Courts on 14 January 2020 after being convicted for swerving his lorry into a cyclist and failing to make a police report within 24 hours of the accident. The sentences were: 

(a) Seven weeks’ imprisonment;
(b) Fine of $500, (with three days’ imprisonment in default of the fine being paid); and
(c) Disqualification from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences for a period of two years.

2 Mr Teo appealed against his conviction and sentence. His appeal was dismissed by the High Court on 20 July 2020.

3 Mr Teo commenced serving his imprisonment term on 20 July 2020. The fine was paid at the High Court on that same day. The High Court notified the State Courts, also on that same day, that the fine had been paid. However, the State Courts officer in charge of the case erroneously failed to update the Warrant of Commitment and the State Courts’ case management system to reflect that the fine had been paid.

4 On 21 and 22 August 2020, the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) enquired with the State Courts on whether the fine had been paid. The State Courts informed SPS that the fine had not been paid as the State Courts’ case management system was not updated due to the said error by the State Courts’ officer. In the circumstances, Mr Teo served the default imprisonment term of two days.

5 While the default imprisonment term imposed by the Court was three days, the actual default imprisonment term served by Mr Teo was two days, due to one-third of the term being remitted. He was released on the morning of 24 August 2020.

6 The payment of Mr Teo’s fine was discovered after SPS forwarded to the State Courts on 24 August 2020, a letter from Mr Teo’s lawyer enclosing the payment receipt.  

7 The State Courts deeply regret what has happened, and we have conveyed our letter of apology to Mr Teo through the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

8 When the error was discovered, the State Courts took immediate steps to review our work processes governing fines for State Courts cases that have gone on appeal to the High Court. We have since implemented further safeguards, such as additional levels of checks, as well as commenced an internal review of the matter. Depending on the outcome of the review, appropriate action (including disciplinary action) will be taken.

Issued by: State Courts, Singapore
Date: 2 September 2020

For further information or clarification, please contact:

Andre Tan
Communications Directorate
Tel: 6955 0448

Michelle Chiang
Senior Assistant Director
Communications Directorate
Tel: 6955 0700


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