SOURCE: The Straits Times
THE High Court yesterday gave the green light for a convicted former director of multi-level marketing company Sunshine Empire to bring his case to the Court of Appeal.
Jackie Hoo Choon Cheat, 32, now serving a seven-year jail term, has indicated that he has questions of law to be brought before the highest court in the land.
Sunshine's 51-year-old founder James Phang Wah, serving a nine-year jail term, was allowed to bring his case to the appeals court earlier this year.
Their cases are expected to be heard jointly, at the earliest in July.
The pair were convicted and sentenced in July 2010 on charges of running a fraudulent business and criminal breach of trust relating to Sunshine's sale of 'lifestyle packages' that promised investors high returns.
Last November, their appeals to the High Court against their convictions and sentences were dismissed. Ordinarily, that would have been their last avenue of appeal.
But Phang applied for a criminal reference, asking the Court of Appeal to determine legal questions of public interest, with a view to quashing his conviction and effectively halving his jail time.
In January, the High Court allowed him a hearing before the appeals court on the following questions raised by his lawyer Subhas Anandan:
Whether the court had correctly interpreted the Companies Act in finding that Phang had knowingly carried on the business with fraud in mind;
Whether the 'guilty acts' and 'guilty mind' elements under the Companies Act were established beyond a reasonable doubt;
Whether a company's business decisions can supersede the binding legal contract between parties; and
Whether the sustainability of a company is a factor in deciding whether there was fraud.
Yesterday, represented by Mr Philip Fong, Hoo sought permission from the High Court to raise three questions similar to those of Phang's to the apex court. The prosecution did not object.