updated Nov 30, 2009: Madan Assomull's telephone number is (65) 6339 4466
My Defense to the Charges. Law Society of Singapore vs Gopalan Nair
Tuesday, December 1, 2009 1:49 AM
From: "Gopalan Nair" email@example.com
This Defense of mine against these disciplinary proceedings by the Singapore Law Society is intended not only as a Defense to these proceedings but also to make known to the public at large as to what is happening; and who am I.
1. I was born in Singapore , and lived with my parents and brothers and sisters there.
2. I was educated in Winstedt School 2, in Newton district of Singapore, then Raffles Institution, after which I went first to Frankfurt , Germany where I spent about 6 months working there. I was what in German one would say, Shwartzarbeiter (or in English "Black work"), meaning I was working without proper work papers. In other words, I was working illegally. I was then 23 years of age. This was an adventure.
3. Although I did not know a word of German before landing in Germany , I picked it up fast and by the time I left Germany , I was reasonably proficient. An interesting fact is that all European languages are connected and have similarities. If you knew English, German is easy to pick up.
4. My plan as the 20 year old young man was to go to Germany , earn enough money and then on to University of New Brunswick , Canada where I had admission to Matriculation and a Bachelor's course in Commerce. My only way to get to Canada was to earn enough money to do it, and Germany was my plan.
5. However in Germany , I was not making enough money let alone to save. I was earning DM800.00 per month in a shop selling general goods and my rent was DM 400.00 living at student accommodation at Wolfgang Goethe Universitat (University) in Holderlin Strasse 4, Frankfurt (near the Zoo).
6. I had earlier been denied a student visa by the British High Commission Singapore, to go to England to study since my late mother was at that time living in England. They felt that if they gave me a visa, I will not return to Singapore . Hence the visa denial.
7. Now since my Canadian hopes were dashed for lack of any money, and since I did not want to go back to Singapore , I tried to get to England from Germany .
8. I told my mother of my presence in Germany and asked them to help. My mother and sister appealed against the British High Commission's decision, which appeal was heard at Leeds Yorkshire England .
9. I won the appeal. I got my student visa issued at the British Consulate Frankfurt am Main, Bockenheimer Landstrasse, Frankfurt . I purchased a railway ticket from Frankfurt to London , on the Transalpino Express, originating Vienna Austria through the Austrian Alps and crossing into Germany into Munich and on to Frankfurt .
10. I boarded the train at 6 am in the morning at Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (Main Railway Station), passing through Mainz, Koblenz, Bonn, Cologne and then into Belgium, Viviars, Liege, Brussels, Ghent St Peters, and then on to Ostend (Flanders, Belgium). At Ostend catch a ferry across the Channel, 4 hours, on to Dover Folkstone and there board British Rail to London Victoria, then to London Kings Cross, the train passing through Huntingdon, Peterborough, Doncaster, Wakefield Westgate, then Leeds; then on to Bradford, Yorkshire where my journey ends.
11. I spent 2 years studying my A levels in Bradford Technical College and then on to Hull University East Yorkshire, to study law and then one year at London doing my Bar Finals, at which time my education in England is over. I was admitted to the English Bar, Inner Temple , being placed 14th in order of merit in the 1979 English Bar Finals, out of a batch of one to 200 students. An achievement to be proud of.
12. I return to Singapore at the end of 1979 around December to start my career as a lawyer. I did not know what Singapore was and how corrupt the legal administration was. I did not know that Singapore was not a democracy and was in fact a dictatorship. I did not know that Singapore was a dictatorship; it’s dictator was in fact Lee Kuan Yew and that it was he who controlled every aspect of government in Singapore as well as the courts, the judges, the Law Society and the legal profession.
13. I was under the mistaken impression that one could in Singapore , like in any democracy, work hard at the law and succeed at it. I did not know that success at the Bar in Singapore required most importantly your loyalty to Lee Kuan Yew's People's Action Party and his patronage and support. If you have that, your success in Singapore as a lawyer is guaranteed. But in order to be so, you have to support Lee Kuan Yew's denial of the fundamental rights of his people, such as freedom of the press, and speech. You have to support his suppression of every form of criticism or dissent against him. In other words, you have to espouse the principles of Fascism, with Lee Kuan Yew as the Singaporean Fuhrer (the protector in German, referring to Adolf Hitler), or the Singaporean Ill Duce (the leader in Italian referring to the Fascist Italian Benito Mussolini).
14. After completing a short pupilage first with the late Harry Wee, then with Allen and Gledhill, then with Godwin and Partners, I was admitted to the Bar. This was in 1982.
15. I first got a job with Law firm Advani Hoo Morris and Kumar, then with Amarjit Rubin then with another firm and finally set up my own firm of Gopalan Nair in Colombo Court and then moved to Golden Mile Complex until I left Singapore in 1991.
16. To tell it briefly, very soon I was disappointed with the whole system. It was not what I thought. Certain selected individuals with Lee Kuan Yew connections did very well indeed. Those who did not ended up as the also ran.
17. The injustice to one man in particular made me very troubled. He was the opposition politician Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam (JB Jeyaretnam). Throughout the 1980s while I was practicing there in the island, I could see the law being repeatedly misused to persecute this man. Not one but a series of defamation law suits were commenced against him including one criminal case, where when one examines the facts there was not a single actionable defamation or crime in anything he did. But yet through these corrupt judges that Lee Kuan Yew has put in place (in fact all of them) like Lai Kew Chai, Sinnathuray and many others, Jeyaretnam is repeatedly punished, repeatedly impoverished and repeatedly bankrupted and sent to jail!
18. Under these circumstances I could not look my self in the mirror had I not done anything. I did what was the only right thing to do; I joined his political party, the Workers Party around 1984.
19. Since my joining his party I was persecuted not only by his courts but also by the people of Singapore . I suddenly found that I lost all my cases, both civil and criminal. The moment the judge realized it was me (remember there are no juries in Singapore ), he was trying very hard to do one thing, how to adjust his decision to find against my client.
20. Singapore ’s state controlled press gave headline news that I had joined the opposition Workers Party so that the people themselves could do what they have to do, that is to stay away from my law practice. Overnight my practice began to suffer, understandably. Which client in his right mind would want to hire me, when he knows that his case is as good as lost with me? At the same time, I began to lose all my friends as well.
21. Then this Lee Kuan Yew administration began their persecution against me. There were about 3 different cases.
22. In one case, I had represented a man called X, to maintain client confidentiality. He was indigent and of Eurasian descent. The facts were that he, just like the masses of Singaporeans was leasing a government owned HDB apartment. The apartment was left to him by his parents. The moneys due to the HDB remained outstanding. Being indigent he defaulted on his monthly payments. So they commenced eviction proceedings.
23. Mr. X was introduced to me by my childhood friend Bala who lives at Veerasamy Road . Mr. X is a rag and bone man who sells his wares along Rochore Canal with the others, also known as Sungei Road , Bombay 's equivalent of Thieves Market (in Hindi, Choor Bazaar).
24. In a little time, Mr. X was able to pay what owed. So naturally, this being good news, I wrote to the HDB on his behalf to stop all eviction proceedings because Mr. X will pay what was due.
25. You would not believe what I am about to say. The reply form the HDB was, it was not possible to stop the eviction proceedings because it is now too late. Since the eviction proceedings had already been started, there is nothing that can be done. My client has to be evicted anyhow.
26. Now like me, I am sure that you would find this unjust. Being a government housing agency, the HDB cannot act only on profit motives. They have a responsibility to the underprivileged; they have to have a sense of altruism and humanity. They should allow Mr. X to pay now and be allowed to keep his apartment that he had inherited from his father.
27. I wanted to tell the world about this injustice. It was during this time that Singapore ’s state controlled press had come up with a national party of sorts in the open space across from Lido cinema in Orchard Road . I am not sure but I think it was during the national Day Celebrations or New Years Day. Singaporeans dancing in the open was shown in the press with the words of Goh Chock Tong or someone else that "Singapore had the best outdoor party, the best political party, the best airport, the best sea port" and I am not sure the best what else.
28. I wrote a letter to the HDB asking whether is this what they mean by best party, best airport, best seaport, and enjoying themselves while a poor citizen of theirs is thrown out on the streets by the government housing agency. Is this what they mean when they say they care for Singaporeans?
29. As I wanted to tell the world about this injustice, I mailed this letter to the HDB also to various foreign embassies, consulates and high commissions of foreign countries in Singapore , such as the American Embassy, the British High Commission etc.
30. As threatened by the HDB, they threw my client on to the streets as well as all his belongings. I was told by Bala and subsequently by him that what the HDB did literally that, they just threw his things from his HDB flat out on the streets.
31. Very soon I received a latter from the Singapore Law Society, these very people who are now commencing these proceedings that the HDB had lodged a complaint against me for unethical conduct as a lawyer because, according to them, "I went beyond my scope of lawyering function" when I distributed my letter to the various Embassies and diplomatic posts in Singapore. Why? I did not see anything wrong with it? Do you?
31. While this proceedings were going on, or sometime in between, JB Jeyaretnam had just returned from London with good news. In his case, Law Society vs JB Jeyaretnam, the Privy Council, the Highest Court in England had found him totally innocent of any of the charges brought against him by the Singapore Law Society and that he should be restored to the Rolls of lawyers in Singapore .
32. Here is the background and my involvement in the case.
33. A while earlier, JB Jeyaretnam was charged once again, one of the many cases brought against him by this despot Lee Kuan Yew through his complaint courts. This time it was criminal charges.
34. After he was sued for defamation and was ordered to pay several hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to Lee Kuan Yew, as is the fashion in Singapore , he put out a plea to the general public for donations.
35. He opened a Standard Chartered Account to collect these monies and I was appointed the Trustee to receive these funds.
36. A total of $14,000 or $15,000.00 was received into this account.
37. Among the donors, there were a couple of people who wanted to donate and had made out checks to the Workers Party.
38. I understand that JB Jeyaretnam had asked them to make out the check to him instead, since if the check was made out to the party, it would not benefit him since the party had already been would up by the courts.
39. You don't need to be a lawyer to know that there was nothing wrong in that. The money was the donor's. They could do anything they want with it. As they had changed the payee's names in the checks to JB Jeyaretnam, he was charged with criminal breach of trust for having diverted "funds belonging to the court liquidator to himself"!
40. Since JB Jeyaretnam knew, just as every normal human being would know that these moneys do not belong to the liquidator, he did not include these 2 sums in the sworn financial declaration he made to the courts. Mind you the sums in this case were only about $300.00.
41. As expected, Lee Kuan Yew ordered his Attorney general to charge Jeyaretnam. He was duly convicted in Singapore by Lee's obedient judges. Immediately thereafter, the Law Society under Lee's instructions disbars him.
42. Since at the time, legal profession disciplinary proceedings had an appeal available to the courts in London , which, you rightly guessed, not longer exists, JB Jeyartnam appealed to the Privy Council London.
43. In the tradition of fairness and justice the British court completely exonerated JB Jeyaretnam of all blame.
44. But what is important to note is this. The parties before the English court were the Law Society of Singapore represented by Singaporean lawyer Goh Joon Seng, from the law firm Lee and Lee (Lee Kuan Yew's law firm) and British Queen’s Counsel whose name I cannot remember. JB Jeyaretnam represented himself with British Queen's Counsel Martin Thomas.
45. Since the question of whether JB Jeyaretnam should be disciplined for his Singapore criminal convictions would depend on whether the Singapore court judgments were correct, it would be necessary for the English judges to look into the evidence once again and see whether JB Jeyaretnam was in fact guilty. Therefore since it was the Singapore Attorney General Tan Boon Teck who conducted these proceedings, the English court felt that it was necessary to permit the Singapore Attorney General to be present in the proceedings so as to both assist and respond to anything relating to the Singapore criminal charges.
46. So the English judges had asked the Singapore Law Society lawyer in the court "Is the Attorney General of Singapore aware of these proceedings" and "Does he wish to appear in these proceedings" since the criminal convictions are now in issue.
47. Both counsel for the Singapore Law Society affirmatively responded that the " Singapore Attorney General is aware and does not wish to appear". Only after being assured of this, did the court go on to hear the case. The court very quickly found JB Jeyaretnam totally innocent of all charges. And they ordered the Singapore Law Society to restore him to the Rolls of Lawyers.
48. After Jeyaretnam returned to Singapore , he applied for a "pardon" from the President of Singapore since the English court had totally exonerated him of all blame.
49. Mr. Tan Boon Teck, then the Attorney General of Singapore writes on behalf of the President of Singapore denying JB Jeyaretnam the pardon. For his reasons he says “That he (the Attorney General of Singapore) was not given an opportunity to be heard before the English Court " and secondly "JB Jeyaretnam had not shown remorse repentance and contrition for the crimes he had committed"!
50. And this outrageous response was published in full by Singapore ’s state controlled press and I read it.
51. Surely you can see what I saw. How can this Attorney General of Singapore so shamelessly say that "he was not given an opportunity to appear" before the English court, when it was absolutely clear that he knew about the case.
52. And surely you can see that Mr. Jeyaretnam is not required to show any “remorse repentance or contrition" for crimes he did not commit!
53. Naturally I was more than disappointed to read the Attorney General's complete denial of the truth. So I had to act and I did. I wrote to him to explain how in Heavens he could say that he "was not given an opportunity to appear in the English court" when he clearly was? And I asked him why in Heavens’ should Jeyaretnam show "remorse repentance and contrition" when he hadn’t committed any crime?
54. He replied by calling my letter "scurrilous" and that "if I needed any answers, I should write to Mr. Jeyaretnam since he was not a party to the proceedings”.
55. Since his response to me was completely unsatisfactory, I wrote to him again telling him that he should reply to me and answer my questions and if not I will circulate the correspondence between us to all the law firms in Singapore. His response was that he was going to report me to the Law Society for discipline, this very same organization that is now proceeding against me for unethical conduct.
56. I then sent my letter to him, his to me and my response to him to all law firms in Singapore via facsimile.
57. The charges against me were that I had "threatened the Attorney General" and that I had made "false accusations against the Attorney General". I fail to see how informing him of my intention to distribute the letters to Singapore lawyers is an "actionable threat" and secondly how asking the Attorney General questions on a public matter can amount to 'false accusations'.
58. The disciplinary hearing was conducted in camera. Very convenient for them, since no one else can know what really happened. But I do have the transcripts, thank God. The Disciplinary hearings judge was the late Choor Singh who was only interested, not unexpectedly, to please Lee Kuan Yew by finding me guilty as quickly as possible. The Law society's Counsel was Madam Assomull who was trying very hard to do any amount of dirty work for the Lee Kuan Yew administration to profit thereby and advance his career. It does appear however that all that willingness to bend over backwards to please the Singaporean powers doesn’t seem to have done him much good. Has a small cheap office now in High Street’s Peninsula Plaza Telephone: (65) 6339 4466. You might want to ask him what went wrong.
59. As expected I was disciplined. I was suspended from practice for 2 years for writing that letter to the Singapore Attorney General. But it did not really affect me, because this final judgment of suspension of a three judge High Court judgment came only after I left Singapore permanently in December 1991.
60. Then finally before I left Singapore , there was another case against me, this time for contempt of court. In 1991 I stood for the by elections as a Workers party candidate for the constituency of Bukit Merah. This was a time when JB Jeyaretnam had been bankrupted and could not stand for elections. I made a speech at an election rally there saying something on these lines "vote for the Workers Party. If you vote for us, we will change the way Subordinate Courts judges are appointed. At present the appointment of Subordinate Court judges are made by the Legal Service Commission which is headed by the Attorney General. This gives an impression of bias when it comes to cases against the government. Some may believe that the judge made the decision because he feared for his job and career. If we came to power, we would make the appointment of these judges independent of the Legal Service Commission".
61. I think, and I am sure you will too, if you happened to be a normal human being that there was nothing wrong in what I said. It was common sense to see that there could be a perception of bias in such cases.
62. I was charged this time for contempt of court. The charge stated that I had accused the Subordinate Court of bias by what I said. The judge this time was TS Sinnathuray, well known for being Lee Kuan Yew's man to polish off any contender.
63. The judge, expectedly, found me guilty as charged. He fined me $8,000.00 or if I did not pay, 2 months in jail. I paid the fine.
64. By this time I was thoroughly disillusioned by the whole system of law in Singapore . I was fed up with the judges, with the law and with the lawyers, whom, I saw as completely spineless.
65. Of course not all accepted this nonsense. Many left the country permanently mainly for Australia . The average man today in Singapore has no respect for the law. As evidence of this malaise, there are no more than 3000 or so practicing lawyers in Singapore today in an island of nearly 5 million people. There have been numerous attempts by the Singapore Administration to increase the number of lawyers by putting out numerous reports that it is an international legal center and so on. Since the world already knows how bad the situation is in Singapore as to the law, it is not surprising that that it is unable to attract more lawyers to the profession.
66. I am very sure that I will be disbarred in Singapore ; there is no doubt about it. But this in no way bothers me since I have not been practicing there since 1991, and furthermore I cannot even travel to the island as the government there has placed a restriction on my entry.
67. I am still on the Rolls of Lawyers in Singapore even though I have not practiced there since 1991. In order to practice in Singapore , you not only have to be on the Rolls of Lawyers, you have to apply for a practicing certificate every year. I am on the Rolls but have not applied for a practicing certificate since 1991. Therefore I cannot practice there at all. By this procedure to strike me off the Rolls, they are in effect denying me the right to ever apply for a practicing certificate in Singapore .
68. Since my adventure in Singapore last year, my blog Singapore Dissident has received great exposure in the world. Many Singaporeans also read it and the readership is steadily increasing.
69. I hope with my disbarment in Singapore and the publicity this generates, even more lawyers will leave Singapore in disgust and the administration will find even more difficulty in attracting new candidates to the profession. In this respect we should all do what we can to expose this dictatorship and weaken it as best we can. That way, we can lay the foundations for a democratic and free society.
Background to this case
70. I live in California , USA . I am now an American citizen. I went to Singapore on May 26, 2008 to witness the hearing to assess the quantum on damages in the Lee Kuan Yew vs Dr. Chee Soon Juan case in the Singapore High Court which was to last 3 days from May 26, 2008 to May 28, 2008. My interest to witness this hearing was increased because it was reported that Lee Kuan Yew, the Singapore strongman and his son will be testifying in open court. I arrived on an early morning flight arriving Singapore May 26, 2008, my intention being to depart Singapore on about a week thereafter on or about June 1, 2008.
After witnessing the 3 days of hearing I wrote a blog post on my blog “Singapore Dissident” from my hotel in Singapore on May 29, 2008. On May 31, 2008, in the evening, Singapore police arrested me in the lobby of the hotel because of my blog, which the police initially claimed were related to Emails to judges, which I never sent.
Since the police had ransacked my hotel room and seized my American passport, I could not leave Singapore . I managed to finally leave Singapore on Nov 26, 2008 after I was released from prison.
The complaint against me has been brought by the Singapore Law Society, which we can assume is synonymous with Lee Kuan Yew and the Singapore Government acting through their Attorney General. Unlike democracies with the rule of law, the Law Society of Singapore is not an independent body.
The lawyer representing the Law Society is a Singaporean Chinese lawyer Peter Low. A copy of this is being emailed to him.
There are 5 charges of misconduct in all. The first 2 charges deal with the accusation against me that on July 4, 2008 in the evening near Little India, I used intemperate language against some police officers and that I behaved in a disorderly manner. I was fined $2,000.00 for using intemperate language against the officers and another $1,000 for disorderly behavior. I disputed the charges. The trial last about 18 days in the Subordinate Courts. The Judge was James Leong.
The Tribunal has informed me that all communications should be sent to Angela Chopard head of this Disciplinary Tribunal as well as to her co-worker Yogeswari d/o N Vadivellu , just in case Chopard goes on leave. This is what I have been doing. The ones who would be hearing this case are 2 other people.
Chopard has asked me if I have a lawyer and I have said I have none. It would be silly of me to waste any money to engage a lawyer when I know I will be disbarred anyway. These proceedings are simply Kangaroo proceedings. It is simply a Kangaroo Court. It is a political exercise, not a legal one.
71. I had asked the Disciplinary Tribunal to let me have the transcripts of my court hearing since what has been said and recorded is crucial to my being able to defend myself in these proceedings.
73. The Disciplinary Council has refused to provide me any transcripts at all. To my request that they provide the transcripts so that I can defend myself, their answer was that "I can collect them personally free of charge from the Subordinate Court Singapore or I can send someone else on my behalf to collect them personally". I had pointed out repeatedly that I don't live in Singapore and do not have anyone there to collect them, and requested instead that they mail the transcripts to me to the USA . They have simply refused to do that.
74. Another charge deals with my writing on my blog Singapore Dissident that "Judge Belinda Ang prostituted herself in her position as a judge by being nothing more than Lee Kuan Yew's and his son's employee in the recent case of lee Kuan Yew vs Dr. Chee Soon Juan". Again I have had the same problem in this case with the transcripts. In this case I had written to them asking that they provide me with the transcripts of my hearing since I need them to defend myself in these proceedings. I also asked for the audio recording which is available in High Court hearings. Once again the High Court wrote to me telling me that I could go personally to Singapore to collect the transcripts or I could send someone else on my behalf. Again I told them that I do not have anyone in Singapore and it is impossible for me to send someone from here to Singapore just for this, therefore could they please mail me the transcripts to the USA . They have refused to mail anything to me. As for the audio recordings, they have simply refused to provide it.
75. The reader will see the difficulty that I face in responding to these charges. The transcripts of both courts and the audio recordings of the High court are crucial and absolutely necessary for me to argue in my defense. Without this, I can only do it out of memory and to that extent I am hamstrung.
76. The other problem that I have faced is this. In any proceedings of this nature, it is the duty of the court to ensure that the Defendant is apprised of the proceedings and any rules that apply. I had repeatedly told the Disciplinary Tribunal that it is their responsibility to ensure that this is done. Not surprisingly for Singapore , someone from the Tribunal who calls herself Audrey Lim writes to me stating that she will not send me anything and that any enquiry for transcripts and other matters should be sent to the High Court or Subordinate Court directly.
77. I have not been able to ascertain who she is. I have discovered someone called "Lim Yoon Cheng Audrey" works in the court but when I asked Angela Chopard who heads the Tribunal who this person is, she claims she does not know any person called Lim Choon Yeng. I have therefore ignored this Audrey Lim entirely.
78. The other charge is this. During my case in the Subordinate Court for allegedly using intemperate language to police officers on July 4, 2008, I had made some remarks such as "I have no confidence of getting a fair trial in this court". As you are aware, I was sent to jail for 3 months for accusing Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean in my blog. While I was still in jail, the Attorney general brought out more charges, this time for contempt of court. The alleged contempt was my having said things like "I don't have any belief that I will get fairness in this court" while I was in the Subordinate Court during my earlier trial. If I challenged these contempt charges, it would mean a longer prison sentence. Not wanting to stay any longer in jail, I naturally apologized and promised not to criticize the Singaporean judiciary or their courts. But since my return to the US , I naturally withdrew any apology made, since I had intention of keeping it anyway, and I re-posted certain blog posts from Singapore Dissident which I was ordered to remove while in Queenstown jail.
79. The last charge deals with my having criticized Judge Judith Prakash in my blog Singapore Dissident in the same manner that I had criticized Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean. This was done after I returned to the USA last year in 2008 December after my escapade in Singapore .
80. The trial of this disciplinary proceeding has been set for either Feb 22, 2010 to Feb 26, 2010 or March 08, 2010 to March 12, 2010 in Singapore . I have a right to appear and defend myself at trial but you can see the difficulty of this I am sure. Please note that as per your request in your letter dated Nov 4th 2009, the March dates are suitable.
81. First, I have not right to enter Singapore and they have not told me that I can. Secondly even if I am allowed to enter Singapore, I would be liable to arrest and imprisonment because I have written in my blog about Singaporean judge Judith Prakash in similar terms to what I had written about Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean while in Singapore. If what I did in Singapore was a crime, surely writing about Judge Judith Prakash is also a crime which means another 3 months jail or more for that.
82. Second, as I have gone against the court ruling in Singapore that I will not criticize the Singapore judiciary anymore and that certain blog posts in Singapore Dissident should be removed, since I have done just that, this would mean another contempt of court conviction and imprisonment.
83. I had written to the Tribunal and the Singapore Immigration and Customs Authority whether I have permission to come to Singapore to defend myself.
83. I had written to the Singapore Tribunal for an assurance that I will not be arrested if I entered Singapore because without such an assurance, it would be madness for me ever to enter Singapore . Since these proceedings are commenced by them, it is necessary that they pay for my air travel there and my reasonable accommodation and daily expenses there. Surely a Defendant such as myself is not expected to pay for this, just as you would not expect a fugitive from Singapore to pay for his return to Singapore to face trial. The Tribunal or the Singapore Immigration and Customs Authority have not responded to this at all.
85. If they don't give me permission to either enter Singapore or to guarantee that I will not be re-arrested if I enter Singapore, it would simply result in my being unable to represent myself at the Singapore hearing. How to deny me the right to defend and yet claim that that they have the rule of law is yet to be seen.
According to the Singapore Tribunal, Singapore Immigration and Customs Authority have ruled that I have to apply to enter Singapore . Since I have already done it before in my Email dated Nov 11, 2009 to which they replied stating in their Nov 13, 2009 letter stating "it is receiving attention" why are they asking me to do it again? It does not take much effort to send another short Email to them which I will do now separately and copied to the Tribunal. It will be posted in my blog Singapore Dissident.
86. In summary, the Tribunal in Singapore is refusing to provide any transcripts or audio recordings for any of these cases, evidence which is crucial for any meaningful defense on my part of these charges. They have also flatly refused to let me know whether I have permission to enter Singapore or whether I will be arrested if I returned there.
Response to Charge 1 and 2
87. The charge reads as follows: You, on July 4, 2008 at or about 10.35 pm near the junction of Bukit Timah Road and Race Course Road Singapore which is a public place did use abusive words towards certain public officials namely police officers of the Singapore Police Force in particular Senior Staff Sergeant Kang Wei Chien and Sergeant Noor Azhar Daud by showing.......... (Here follows certain expletives and four letter words).
88. The second charge refers to the same place and time and is as follows:
"You, ................... (same place and time)............. did behave in a disorderly manner to wit gesticulating with your hands and shouting loudly"
89. I pleaded not guilty and went to trial. This trial lasted 18 days in the Subordinate Court, Singapore.
90. As I do not have the transcripts which the Tribunal has refused to provide, I can only do my best based on memory and the few notes I managed to take.
91. I was walking in the evening along Race Course Road Singapore alone towards the junction of Bukit Timah Road . There were a number of cars waiting along the street to merge into Bukit Timah Road which is a main road.
92. While walking along the pavement, almost reaching Bukit Timah Road , I heard some yelling from behind, as if someone were calling out to me. Since I had no business with anyone and no obligation to look I kept on walking.
93. From behind about 5 people came in front of me. None of them were in police uniform. They were rude and they were shouting. They accused me of "knocking” on their police car. I said I did no such thing. I did not know they were policemen. They asked me to tell them who I was and where I was going. None of their business, I thought and politely asked to step aside to let me go.
94. Immediately thereafter with violent force, I was brought face down lying on the tarmac of the Road. My glasses were damaged. While on the floor I was handcuffed. There was a crowd who had gathered. I suffered injuries.
95. The police officers, in particular Staff Sergeant Kang’s evidence, had shown that it would be impossible for me to commit the offense. For instance, in the witness box, he had said that I "continuously and loudly" kept knocking on his car. If so, I had asked him why he did not arrest me there and then, to which he had no answer.
Further since he confirmed that I had knocked his police car “continuously and loudly”, I had asked him how long was it? 1 minute, 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 seconds, what? Despite my repeatedly asking it, he did not answer. I had asked the judge to compel him to answer the question but he refused.
If I had in fact “continuoulsy and loudly” knocked on his car, he would have noticed and arrested me immediately. Yet he did nothing but according to him, allowed me to walk away 100 0r 200 meters before he calls out to me!
This is simply nonsense.
96. I had asked him repeatedly if he had seen me knocking on his car to which he answered no.
97. I had asked him when he began to call out to me to stop, to which he answered after I had walked about 100 to 200 meters straight ahead from his car. Yet under cross examination, he stated his car was the first car at the traffic junction. In fact if what he said was true, had I walked 100 or 200 meters from his car, when it was at the street junction, I would have been smack in the middle of the Bukit Timah Road , the Main Road or even beyond that.
98. Not one of the police officers at the trial gave any testimony alleging that they saw me "knocking continuously and loudly" on their police car.
There was no evidence that anyone identified themselves as police officers and they did not show me any badges either.
99. The police took my blood for alcohol testing which confirmed that I was not alcohol impaired.
100. The police sent the car to forensics to see if there were any fingerprints and there was none.
101. The police confirmed that there was no damage to their car.
102. Yet they all said that I went on to hurl obscenities at them and behaved in a disorderly manner.
103. Each and every police officer present at trial religiously repeated under oath that I was disorderly, that I had yelled expletives at them and so on. The next day, Singapore ’s state controlled newspaper the Straits Times reported that as many as 25members of the public witnessed my arrest.
104. Other than the 5 police officers there or so, who gave evidence, giving the same identical evidence that the others gave, not a single independent witness was produced despite the fact that their own newspaper reported there were at least 25 bystanders who witnessed my arrest.
105. When I asked the Investigating Officer why he did not call any independent witnesses to testify, his answer was that at that time, even though there were 5 of them with me alone and unarmed, he was controlling the flow of traffic and could not get the particulars of any independent person. He said he did go there the next day to ask the nearby shopkeepers but no one wanted to help him.
106. The principle in criminal law is the burden is on the prosecution to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. This was a case that simply had too many doubts, too many inconsistencies.
107. There is no reason why I should have done any of what they said I did and secondly, even if I yelled or shouted, which I must say did not happen at all, it is something that happens every day and if there were prosecutions for this sort of thing, there won't be left anyone outside prison.
108. Under these circumstances, one can only reasonably come to this conclusion. They were looking out for me. It was necessary to make me look bad in Singapore prior to my trial in the High Court for the blogging case which was set for September 2008, for which I was already arrested and released on bail.
109. I think the mistake they made is to not coach their police witnesses to lie properly. Perhaps they also thought it was going top be a breeze with my pleading guilty the first day and the case over. Unfortunately this did not happen and I went to trial.
110. I have some notes that I had taken during the trial. As for their refusal to send me any court transcripts to enable me to know what was exactly said in court, they are obviously trying their best to make it difficult for me to defend these charges.
111. There were a few moments of hilarity during the proceedings. When I told Staff Sergeant Kang that what he was saying was "a figment of his imagination" he asked the judge “what is a figment"! As for the photographer who testified as best he could in English, he did not know what "junction" meant in English. He almost did not know any English at all. Chinese educated old man.
Then we had Vikneswaran son of Socklingam, the Investigating Officer. He kept saying his name was S Vicki. Imagine someone going around at trial and giving a false name. Only under cross examination did I discover what his real name was. This was not just with this man, the Judge James Leong also had an entirely different name as well as the prosecutor who was adamant to remain incognito as Peter Koy when in fact he was Koy Su Hua.
The entire James Leong's Court was trying to hide their true identities as common criminals. At one point, I told the judge that if that was the case, if we could all go around calling ourselves something else, why not call me "Gordon" instead of "Gopalan". Although this request was made in jest as I am proud of Gopalan Nair the judge simply refused the request although this police officer can freely go around under false pretenses!
112. And finally in no country in the civilized world would any lawyer be disciplined with disbarment even if he did what was alleged he did.
Charge no. 3
113. You, in your blog post Singapore Dissident dated May 29, 2008 entitled “ Singapore . Judge Belinda Ang's Kangaroo Court", did make the following offending statement insulting the judiciary of Singapore , namely the Honorable Judge Belinda Ang (Saw Ean): "The judge Belinda Ang was throughout prostituting herself during the entire proceedings, by being nothing more than an employee of Lee Kuan Yew and his son and carrying out their orders."
And you had thereby committed an offense punishable under Section 228 of the Penal Code for which on Sept 17, 2008, you were convicted and sentenced to 3 months imprisonment ....................".
114. There are a number of difficulties with this accusation.
115. Section 228 of the Penal Code reads as follows: "Whoever intentionally offers any insult or cause any interruption to any public servant while such public servant is sitting in any stage of a judicial proceeding shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to $5,000.00 or with both".
116. Any normal reading of this section would require the following elements. One, the Defendant should either insult or interrupt a judge. Two, this has to be done in the presence of the judge. Three, it has to be done while physically in the court while the judge is sitting in judicial proceedings.
117. I did not insult Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean in her court. I wrote a blog in my hotel in Singapore .
118. Since my action was not in her court in her presence and neither did I interrupt her proceedings, there is no way I can be liable in this section.
119. Furthermore, the case was no longer in session. I wrote the blog on May 29, 2009when the case was already over. On May 28, 2008 Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean adjourned her court. On May 29 2008 she was "no longer sitting in proceedings". She promised to deliver her judgment on the amount of damages some time at a future date. Therefore it could not be said by any stretch that "she was sitting in proceedings" when I wrote my blog on May 29, 2008 in my hotel in Singapore .
120. The other issue is with the word “insult”. The Constitution of Singapore guarantees free speech and expression. Therefore it was perfectly all right to write my blog criticizing this judge.
121. The other point was the words "prostituting her self during the entire proceedings, by being nothing more than an employee of Lee Kuan Yew and his son and carrying out their orders." I had said specifically clearly that the word "prostituting" was said in relation to her “duty as a judge”. Not as a common prostitute.
122. The meaning of the word "prostituting" in the Webster’s Dictionary is as follows: "to devote to corrupt or unworthy purposes; debase one's talents; devoted to corrupt purposes; a person, such as a writer or painter, who deliberately debases himself or his talents for money". If you read my blog post of May 29, 2008 in Singapore Dissident, this is exactly what this judge was doing shamelessly throughout the 3 days of hearing in the High Court Singapore. This is a correct use of the English Language as to her conduct and therefore can in no way amount to criminal conduct. Please read my blog post of May 29, 2008 in the blog Singapore Dissident.
123. Criminal offense of "insult". Apart from the fact that the Singapore Penal section requires to the insult to happen within the presence of a judge in a courtroom, which was not the case, the "insult" law is itself unconstitutional and void. Under the 1st and 14th Amendment of the US Constitution as well as established English constitutional law, laws which are vague and overbroad are unconstitutional. It is like saying; it is illegal to be "bad". What this means is anyone’s guess. So is the word "insult". The law itself for this reason too is unenforceable.
124. None of this argument flew with Judge Kang Ting Chiu in my trial in the High Court. He said, it was not necessary to be in court for this offense; that the judge was still sitting in proceedings even though she was not in court at all and neither was I when I wrote the blog; that I meant the judge was engaged in "prostitution" even though this was never the meaning; that even though what I said was true, it could still be an insult; never mind any dictionary meanings, I was guilty anyway.
125. Judge Kang Ting Chiu's trial was like that in Alice in Wonderland of the trial of the rabbit who stole the tart!
126. The Tribunal and the Singapore High Court has refused to provide the transcripts or the audio recordings. To that extent this is written from memory.
Charge No: 4
127. "You, did make the following entry in your blog Singapore Dissident on November 28, 2008 entitled "Hello from Fremont, near San Francisco California" "I am defying the undertaking that I gave in court (in Singapore) on September 12, 2008 when I admitted being in contempt of court.........I had also given an undertaking to remove the 2 blog posts of Sept 1, 2008 and Sept 6, 2008 which referred to my trial and conviction before Judge James Leong in the Subordinate Court for disorderly behavior and insulting a policeman, charges entirely made up by the (Singapore) police to discredit me. I will be re-posting those 2 blog posts and stand by every word that I had written in them" and by reason of this you have committed misconduct.
128. On September 12, 2008 I was in prison in Singapore ’s Queenstown jail having been unjustly without law serving a sentence of 3 months jail. On September 20, 2008 I was supposed to be released from jail.
129. At this point, while in jail, the Singapore Police visited me in jail with fresh charges this time of contempt of court for what I had earlier said in Judge James Leong's Subordinate Court . So when I was now taken again to the Subordinate court again to face these new charges, in return for apologizing and undertaking to remove the 2 blog posts, I was given a warning not to criticize Singapore ’s judges again and not to write blog posts criticizing the Singapore judiciary. At this point you realize, I was just about to be released from prison.
130. This undertaking was made against my constitutional right of free speech and expression. Furthermore Judge Leong nor the new judge Leslie Chew of the Subordinate Court on these new fresh charges, were not conducting normal court in the usual sense. These were Kangaroo court for punishing political dissidents for the pleasure of his master, Lee Kuan Yew.
131. The only reason why I gave the undertaking was not to prolong my incarceration in a Singapore jail. I would have said anything in the world just so that my jail term is not extended. I had not intention of keeping my undertaking to that court at all. At the first opportunity of arriving in the US , I broke that undertaking. I withdrew all apologies made and reposted on my blog Singapore Dissident, those blog posts there were ordered to be deleted.
Charge No 5
132. This charge is similar to the Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean charge. “You, in your blog post Singapore Dissident dated Nov 30, 2008 entitled “Justice Judith Prakash. Another Kangaroo Judge", did make the following offending statement insulting the judiciary of Singapore namely the "Honorable" Justice Judith Prakash: "Judge Judith Prakash of the Supreme Court Singapore has prostituted herself in her capacity as a judge hearing the Kangaroo T Shirt case on Nov 24, 2008 by being nothing more than an employee of Lee Kuan Yew and his son, whom he appointed Prime Minister. By her actions in sending these young men to prison and making them pay crippling court costs of $5,000.00 each, she has shamelessly disgraced herself, her office as a judge, disgraced the Constitution of Singapore and Singapore ."
133. This blog post was written by me after my return to California .
134. The facts were that John Tan, the Assistant Secretary General of the Singapore Democratic Party (Dr. Chee Soon Juan's party), Izrizal and Shafi (2 other members of the said party) were arrested in the High Court between the dates of May 26 to May 28, 2008 wearing T shirts emblazoned with the picture of a Kangaroo in judicial robes.
135. The intention was for them to attend the hearing in Judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean's court while the Lee Kuan Yew case was being heard to give solidarity to Dr. Chee Soon Juan.
136. The police outside her courtroom did not permit them to enter her court. They were arrested outside her court.
137. They were charged for contempt of court.
138. They were clearly not guilty for the following reasons. There is nothing contemptuous of wearing a T shirt with a picture of a kangaroo in judicial robes. They are protected by the Constitutional right of free speech. They were not within the court of Judge Ang Saw Ean. Third, for contempt, the action must be clearly contemptuous, and not open to multiple interpretations. Here merely wearing a T shirt with a Kangaroo's picture is open to multiple interpretations, not necessarily any insult to this particular judge.
Another important point is this. For a contempt case such as this the item itself is the only evidence admissible, in this case the T Shirts. No evidence of intention or otherwise of the user is admissible since they had not said anything.
The police officer in this case was Assistant Superintendant Abdul Razak Zakaria, the same man that arrested me in the Belinda Ang Saw Ean case. He took various statements from the Defendants in stressful circumstances and adduced them in court to prove their intent. This was completely unacceptable. And this judge willingly let her court be misused in this way.
I was seated in the Singapore court for the first 2 days. It was a shameful spectacle. A disgrace. What was going on there was a Stalinist show trial. Not a court one would expect in any democracy.
A lot of time was spent in court by this police officer adducing evidence from statements taken from the 3, to show the intent of the wearers of the Kangaroo T shirt for this shameless judge to join in and say that they intended to insult the court and so on and so forth and therefore they are guilty.
Granted, these judges are well paid in Lee Kuan Yew’s courts, but surely this woman can find a more honest way to make a living.
139. The judge Judith Prakash was shamelessly abusing her position to silence dissent. This she does by sending these men to jail and making them pay costs of $5,000.00. More than just punishing these 3 men, the purpose is to send a chill down the spines of every Singaporean not to criticize Lee Kuan Yew or his judges.
140. The words used by me were apt and correct. It is not misconduct at all.
141. In a sense, it is good that the Singapore Law Society has commenced these proceedings and they will undoubtedly have me disbarred.
142. With the Internet now, I am being tried not just by the Singapore authorities; I am also being tried by the world. It gives me another chance to expose the real goings on in the legal system of that island, a chance which did not exist before.
143. In times before, with the press being controlled in Singapore , it was impossible for the public to know the truth. Now their actions are seen for what they are, and they have to live by their actions.
144. I understand today, the Singapore authorities are struggling to increase the number of lawyers practicing there. In fact for that island of 5 million people or so, with international trade and commerce, there are no more than 3,000 lawyers or so, a totally insufficient number.
145. The reason for this must be obvious. The Singapore legal system and their judges have been so much discredited over these years that all respect for their judiciary or the rule of law is gone. In the past the late JB Jeyaretnam suffered almost decades at the hands of corrupt Singapore judges who were carrying out Lee Kuan Yew's political orders to repeatedly bankrupt and impoverish him and send him to jail. They finally killed him, in a manner of speaking.
146. The same fact befell anyone who dared criticize Lee Kuan Yew or his courts, such as Tang Liang Hong, now in exile in Australia, bankrupt; Francis Seow detained and beaten and now in exile in Boston; Dr. Lee Seow Choh, Jufrie Mohammad, and of course Dr. Chee Soon Juan and not forgetting myself.
147. I take great credit for the fact there are only 3,000 lawyers in Singapore . My writings have obviously had a part to play in that. My message to Singaporeans is this. Don't stop. This dictatorship is weakening. And I shall continue to write.
148. Best Wishes from Fremont California
149. Executed Under Penalty of Perjury by me, Gopalan Nair, in Fremont California USA on November 30, 2009.