Drug Trafficking – Mohamed Mubin bin Abudl Rahman [2024] SGCA 13: Singapore’s Misuse of Drugs Act

Drug Trafficking – Mohamed Mubin bin Abudl Rahman [2024] SGCA 13: Singapore’s Misuse of Drugs Act


In the  case [2024] SGCA 13, the Singapore Court of Appeal delivered a judgment that has significant implications for the interpretation and application of the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA). This article provides an in-depth analysis of the case, focusing on the legal principles involved, the court’s reasoning, and the broader implications for future drug-related prosecutions in Singapore.

Case Background

The appellant, Mr. Mohamed Mubin bin Abdul Rahman, was convicted of two capital charges under Section 5(1)(a) read with Sections 5(2) and 12 of the MDA for trafficking in diamorphine. He was sentenced to death. The charges stemmed from an incident on 8 September 2015, where Mubin directed his brother, Lokman, to pack and deliver two bundles of diamorphine. These actions led to their joint trial and subsequent conviction.

Key Legal Issues

  1. Interpretation of Trafficking Under the MDA

The core issue in this case revolved around the interpretation of “trafficking” under the MDA. Specifically, the court examined whether the appellant’s actions of instructing his brother to handle the drugs constituted trafficking.

  1. Application of Ramesh Perumal Precedent

The court revisited its decision in Ramesh a/l Perumal v Public Prosecutor [2019] 1 SLR 1003, which dealt with the return of drugs to the original supplier. The applicability of this precedent was crucial in determining whether the appellant’s actions amounted to trafficking or mere possession.

Court’s Findings

Factual Determinations

  1. Delivery and Handling of Drugs: The court found that Mubin ordered the drugs from suppliers Zaini and Noor, coordinated their delivery, and instructed Lokman to handle the drugs. These actions were central to establishing Mubin’s control and direction over the drug trafficking operation.
  2. Credibility of Witness Testimony: The court placed significant weight on Lokman’s testimony, which was corroborated by objective evidence such as recorded telephone conversations and forensic evidence. The inconsistencies in Lokman’s statements were considered minor and did not undermine his overall credibility.

Legal Analysis

  1. Trafficking Definition: The court clarified that directing another person to handle drugs for the purpose of distribution falls squarely within the definition of trafficking under the MDA. Mubin’s actions in instructing Lokman to deliver the drugs to Edy and himself were sufficient to constitute trafficking.
  2. Distinguishing Possession and Trafficking: The court emphasized that the intent and actions associated with drug handling are critical in distinguishing between possession and trafficking. In this case, Mubin’s instructions to Lokman demonstrated a clear intent to distribute the drugs, thereby meeting the criteria for trafficking.

Sentencing Considerations

The court upheld the death sentence for Mubin, underscoring the severe penalties associated with drug trafficking in Singapore. The judgment highlighted the judiciary’s firm stance on deterring drug-related offenses through stringent sentencing.

Implications for Future Cases

This judgment reinforces the stringent interpretation and application of the MDA in Singapore. It serves as a crucial reference for future cases involving drug trafficking, particularly in clarifying the actions that constitute trafficking versus possession.

Key Takeaways

  1. Clear Definition of Trafficking: The case provides a definitive interpretation of trafficking under the MDA, particularly in scenarios involving the delegation of drug handling tasks.
  2. Credibility of Witnesses: The judgment underscores the importance of corroborating witness testimony with objective evidence in securing convictions for drug offenses.
  3. Sentencing Rigor: The reaffirmation of the death penalty for drug trafficking cases reflects the judiciary’s commitment to stringent enforcement of drug laws.



The [2024] SGCA 13 judgment is a landmark decision that significantly impacts the legal landscape of drug-related offenses in Singapore. By providing clear legal definitions and reinforcing the severe penalties for trafficking, this case serves as a vital precedent for future prosecutions under the MDA. Legal practitioners and stakeholders must closely study this judgment to understand its implications and ensure robust legal strategies in handling drug-related cases.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific legal concerns, please consult a qualified legal professional.

For further details and personalized legal advice, please reach out to IRB Law LLP.

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