An Overview Of SOSMA

SOSMA is the short form for the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012. The act was enacted in 2012 as a replacement to the repealed Internal Security Act (ISA)

SOSMA covers ‘Criminal conspiracy’ (Chapter VA of the Penal Code) and ‘Offences against the State’ (Chapter VI of the Penal Code). Some of the interesting provisions of the Act worth taking note include:

A. Power of arrest and detention (s.4)

s.4(1) allows a police officer (henceforth PO) to arrest & detain without warrant, a person he believes is involved in security offences

s.4(2) states that the person arrested would be informed of the grounds of arrest by the PO making the arrest “as soon as may be”

s.4(3), no person can be arrested & detained under s.4 solely for his “political belief/political activity”

s.4(4) articulates that the arrested person can be detained for 24 hours

s. 4(5) allows the period of detention to be extended to 28 days (max.) by a PO ranked Superintendent or above

B. Notification of next-of-kin and consultation with legal practitioner (s.5)

s.5(1) states that when a person is arrested & detained under s.4, the PO conducting the investigation will
(a) immediately notify the next-of-kin about the arrest, and
(b) allow the detainee to consult a legal practitioner [subject to subsection(2)]

s.5(2), the delay of legal consultation for 48 hours (max.) may be authorised by a PO ranked Superintendent or above

Grounds for the delay of consultation under s.5(2)
(a) reasonable grounds to believe it may interfere with the evidence
(b) it will lead to harm to another
(c) it will lead to alerting another suspect not yet arrested, or
(d) it will hinder the recovery of property obtained as a result of the offence

C. Power to intercept communication (s.6)

D. Bail (s.13)

s.13(1), bail shall NOT be granted to a person charged with a security offence

s.13(2) states that a person below 18 years old, a woman, or a sick/infirm person not charged with an offence relating to terrorism may be released on bail depending on certain conditions