In this case, the defendant was accused of transiting in Singapore 2520 heads of living South Asian box turtles without a valid export permit issued by the competent authorities in Indonesia, and this in violation of the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and of the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act 2006, which implement CITES in Singapore’s domestic law.
The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge of transiting in Singapore on board of his ship and was condemned by the court of first instance to a 5 month imprisonment penalty and a fine of 20 000$ in default 2 months imprisonment. The defendant appealed the sentence to the District Court.
The discussion in front of the District Court was mostly on the question of the proportionality of the sentence. The court considered the fact that Singapore wanted to show its severity in the implementation of CITES in order to dissuade other smugglers to use its port as a transit for illegal species trade. On the other hand, the Court also considered the fact that the defendant did not have any antecedent and was in a very precarious situation. Finally, the Court considered that the sentence was fair as it was less than half of the maximum imprisonment penalty provided by the law and that the fine was on the moderate spectrum. Consequently, the appeal was dismissed.