Voluntarily Causing Hurt – Section 323 (penal Code)
Published on 19th May, 2017 by Mark Lee
Voluntarily Causing Hurt – Section 323 (Penal Code)
Section 323 – In Context
Section 323 covers cases where only minor hurt is caused. For instance, where A slaps B and B suffers “tenderness” to his cheek, A is likely to be liable under Section 323.
To draw a distinction, this is as opposed to more serious instances of violence, such as, Section 324 where weapons are used, Section 325 where “grievous” hurt is caused, etc.
Section 323 – Pre & Post 1 February 2008
Also, pursuant to amendments made by the Penal Code (Amendment) Act in 2008, the parliament has deemed it fit to increase the penalties attendant to such offences.
Pre 2008 – “Whoever, except in the case provided for by s 334, voluntarily causes hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to $1,000, or with both.”
Post 2008 – “Whoever, except in the case provided for by s 334, voluntarily causes hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years, or with fine which may extend to $5,000, or with both.”
Illustration of Section 323
Lim Hung Khiang v PP – Offender assaulted the victim by slapping her on both cheeks and hitting her once on the head. The offender was charged under Section 323.
Whilst the sentencing of an offender entails a much more nuanced and considered approach by the Courts, the following provide a brief snapshot into some of the principles considered by the Courts, including:-
a) Third Edition of the Practitioners’ Library, Sentencing Practice in the Subordinate Courts, LexisNexis and the Subordinate Courts, Singapore, 2013 - “From the precedents, if only minor injury is caused, the offence is dealt with by the imposition of a fine.”
b) Public Prosecutor v AOB  2 SLR 793 - “a custodial sentence is generally not imposed for a s 323 offences when: (a) the offender’s actions were not premeditated; (b) the victim’s injuries were minor; and (c) the altercation lasted for only a short time”.
c) A custodial sentence will likely be imposed when dealing with certain categories of cases, including but not limited to;
i. Where serious injury is caused in a deliberate attack.
ii. Where there is a group attack on a single victim.
iii. Where there is a racially motivated attack.
iv. Where the offender has a record of violence.
v. Where the offenders resort to violence over motoring-related incidents (i.e. road rage cases).
vi. For offences committed against public transport workers.
vii. For offences committed against domestic maids (i.e. maid abuse cases).
viii. For offences committed against children or on spouses. dealinth certain categories of cases, including but n For enquiries, you may contact our directors below:-
For full article, please download the PDF below.