Ladies and Gentlemen,
From my experience with this man Choor Singh who recently died, I can tell you this. He wasn't truly a "judge" although he sat in a courtroom and wore judge's robes. He was another of Lee Kuan Yew's “judges”, like what I wrote here about the likes of Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean; someone "who prostitutes her position as a judge" to favor Lee Kuan Yew and demolish his opponents by abusing the law. From my personal experience with him in my case, I can tell you this. He had no shame. No shame at all.
The state controlled Singapore newspaper, just as the entire media in Singapore is state controlled, in its online edition on April 1, 2009, April Fool's day, a day befitting a man such as him, carries the article "Ex-judge Choor Singh dies".
A backdrop is necessary. In the late 1980s while I was in Singapore and a member of the Worker's Party with the late JB Jeyaretnam the following occurred. JB Jeyaretnam who was the victim of Lee Kuan Yew's numerous defamation lawsuits had been charged this time, with criminal breach of trust for allegedly diverting funds from the Singapore public trustee to himself of a petty sum of $200 or so and not telling the truth in a statutory declaration which he had filed with them by not declaring this petty sum. The matter arose from the fact that the Workers Party had been declared bankrupt through another of Lee Kuan Yew's numerous lawsuits against him. Although JB Jeyaretnam was not guilty of any of these trumped up politically motivated charges against him, the Singapore High Court predictably reversed his acquittal on appeal and found him guilty on all charges.
When JB Jeyaretnam appealed his conviction to the Privy Council of England, on the matter of his disbarment from the rolls of lawyers, they correctly ruled that he was not guilty of any of the charges and ordered his re-instatement to the rolls as an Advocate. Since the Singapore law did not have appeals to England on criminal convictions, the British law lords could not reverse his convictions. They therefore suggested that he petition the President of Singapore for a full pardon. After he did this, the President of Singapore, upon the advice of the then Attorney General of Singapore, Tan Boon Teik, who I understand now lives in Singapore and plays the piano to spend his time, refused any pardon.
His argument was that Jeyaretnam did not deserve a pardon for the following reasons. Firstly, he says the British judges had denied him natural justice because he was "not given an opportunity to be heard before the British Court" even though there is clear evidence that they began to hear the case only after the solicitor for the Law Society of Singapore expressly said that the Singapore government was aware of the case and did not wish to be heard.
Secondly he argues that Jeyaretnam is not deserving of a pardon because "he has not shown remorse repentance or contrition for the crimes he had committed" despite the fact the British law lords had expressly stated that he was not guilty of any crime!
When I read this totally unacceptable response from this Attorney General from the Singapore Straits Times, I was naturally outraged. How could this man, Tan Boon Teik say things which were totally untrue and get away with it? I could not remain silent. So I wrote to him to explain why he said what he said, when the facts were clearly something else. First he wrote to me telling me that if I had any questions I should address them to Mr. Jeyaretnam. Not satisfied with this totally unresponsive answer, I wrote to him again telling him that if he was not going to give me an acceptable answer within 14 days, I will make the letters passing between me and him public. To that, his response was that he was going to report me to the Law Society for unethical conduct!
The Law Society's was then as now, a tool of Lee Kuan Yew to silence his critics. Their charge against me were that I had falsely accused the Attorney General of improper conduct and secondly, that I had threatened him by threatening to make the 2 letters public. Although anyone in his right mind would find it impossible to see any unethical conduct on my part here, in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore anything can be turned around if necessary to become unethical or unlawful to silence and punish his critics.
Here is where this man Choor Singh comes in. The Law Society's disciplinary hearings against me were heard before this man presiding as the judge. JB Jeyaretnam was my lawyer. Madan Assomull, a lawyer who practices in High Street Plaza, the building along High Street where Burmese workers now congregate, was the prosecutor.
From the word go, one thing was very clear. He wanted to find me guilty no matter what the evidence, and he wanted to do it as quickly as possible. Had he been a real judge, he would have thrown out these charges against me that very minute. Anyone in his right mind could have seen I was not guilty of anything. First, JB Jeyretnam was not my client when I wrote that letter to the Attorney General and therefore I was not acting in a professional capacity when I wrote that letter to the Attorney General. Second, how can merely writing a letter to the Attorney General asking for an explanation amount to falsely accusing him. And thirdly, how could a "threat" to make public letters passing between him and I amount to anything unlawful!
When the case started, Madan Assomull, trying hard to do the dirty work entrusted to him, made various applications for adjournments claiming that the Attorney General was overseas in China and various other countries, in the hope that I would feel the heat and succumb by pleading guilty. Since I was not prepared to do this, the case eventually started.
When the time came for Madan Assomull to cross examine me, I tried to answer him by explaining my stand, which included my stand that these entire proceedings were politically motivated, an abuse of the law and a travesty of justice. To that, Choor Singh interjected demanding that I answer with a "Yes" or "No" answers and not say anything else. I refused of course. What I told him was that I was going to answer the way I wanted or else, I was refusing to answer any questions. Finding himself in a bind, he reluctantly allowed me to answer the way I wanted. And I took the opportunity to state in court exactly what little I thought of Singapore's justice in Lee Kuan Yew's courts.
By this time, having practiced in Singapore’s courts for nearly 10 years, I had lost all respect for the legal system in Singapore. I had also by this time, made up my mind that I was going to leave Singapore for California. I was determined as my last stand against this regime to give them a run for their trouble. I was determined to take this opportunity to tell this court what I really thought of them. I knew of course that being a known dissenter to Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew; I stood no hope of ever winning this case. So I fought it to the fullest. The case dragged on for as long as 2 months. The Attorney General was cross examined by JB Jeyaretnam rigorously. Although he was completely at a loss to explain why my actions were in the remotest manner objectionable, in the end predictably I was found guilty. This was at the end of 1991.
There was a moment of hilarity which I still remember. On the issue of whether the Attorney General of Singapore was given an opportunity to be heard at the hearing in London, the following occurred. It appeared that the British Law Lords had asked the solicitor for the Law Society whether the "Singapore authorities" were aware of the proceedings. To this, Madan Assomull asked Martin Thomas QC, who had appeared for Mr. Jeyaretnam before the British Court, whether they might have referred to someone else other than the Singapore Attorney General when referring to "Singapore Authorities". After Madan Assomull had repeatedly reminded him that the British Judges had referred to "Singapore Authorities" and did not use the words "Singapore Attorney General", Martin Thomas Qc said this. He said he was sure the British Judges were referring to the Singapore Attorney General and not anyone else. He said, he was sure the British Judges were not referring to the "Hong Kong Fire Brigade" when they said "Singapore Authorities" and that he was sure it meant the "Singapore attorney general"!
Let me make this clear. Choor Singh was a disgrace to humanity, to his Sikh community and to the law when he found me guilty of unprofessional conduct merely for writing a letter to the Attorney General asking him to explain himself when he advised the President not to give a pardon to JB Jeyaretnam. He is responsible together with the likes of Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean for having brought the Singapore legal profession into disrepute and turning it into the laughing stock of lawyers around the world.
Choor Singh, when he sat in judgment in the case Law Society vs Gopalan Nair was not serving the law. He was serving Lee Kuan Yew.
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