Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Letter to Wong Kan Seng, Home Affairs Minister, K Shanmugam, Law Minister and Walter Woon, Attorney General. Law Society vs Gopalan Nair

Failure of due process of law by Singapore Disciplinary Tribunal.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 4:05 AM
From: "Gopalan Nair"



1) Wong Kan Seng
Singapore Minister of Home Affairs

2) K Shanmugam
Singapore Minister of Law

3) Walter Woon
Singapore Attorney General

Dec 02, 2009
Ref: singapore dissident

Law Society of Singapore vs Gopalan Nair

1. The subject is the disciplinary proceedings brought against me by the Law Society of Singapore.

2. I am sure you are aware of this, but in any case, it is necessary to make this public and to demand an explanation.

3. There are 5 charges brought against me, 2 of them involving my conviction in Singapore ’s courts, namely one in the High Court for criticizing your Singapore judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean and another involving a disorderly conduct case/ insulting a police officer case in the Subordinate Court which resulted in convictions. For these 2 charges, the convictions form the basis of the disciplinary proceedings.

4. It is open to any Defendant in these proceedings to challenge the convictions themselves as a defense to these charges. In this case, with the appalling reputation of your courts being ordinarily used as a tool to destroy political opposition and government critics, and since these 2 convictions arose out of such misuse of the law, it is absolutely essential that I be provided with the transcripts and audio recordings (High Court) to prepare my defense.

5. I had written several Emails to the Disciplinary Tribunal asking that I be provided with these essential documents. Initially the Tribunal Head, Angela Chopard through someone called Audrey Lim whom no one knows, replied and said repeatedly that they are not required to provide anything and if I needed anything, I should write directly to the relevant authorities, in this case the courts.

6. Since she was not prepared to do anything, I had no choice but to write to the courts myself. I had written to the High Court asking for the court testimony transcripts and testimony audio recordings in my case there and to the Subordinate court for the testimony transcripts (Subordinate Courts do not record audio recordings).

7. Both the courts have in effect refused to provide anything at all.

8. On Nov 11, 2009, Jasmine Ong (Ms), acting fro Registrar Supreme Court writes "We refer to our earlier letter of Oct 30, 2009, informing you that a copy of the transcripts for the criminal case No 23 of 2008 will be provided to you at no charge............ Please make arrangements for an authorized person to collect the transcripts on your behalf". In other words, I or someone else has to go there physically.

9. We have had a similar letter from the Subordinate Courts telling me to go to Singapore to pick up the testimony court transcripts or to send an authorized representative to go to Singapore to pick it up.

10. As you are aware I live in California and not in Singapore . Secondly I have no one in Singapore to pick it up.

11. One more puzzling fact is this. Earlier the Tribunal itself in their letter dated Nov 4, 2009 again demands this. They say "The Disciplinary Tribunal also notes that the Supreme Court and the Subordinate Courts have acceded to the Respondents requests and made available the transcripts of the relevant court proceedings to the Respondent (subject to the Respondent or an authorized person collecting the transcripts).

12. This response from the tribunal is bewildering. Why in Heaven’s should someone go there personally for this! I then wrote to both the courts with copies sent to the tribunal, in my Email dated Nov 6, 2009, asking for the transcripts to be mailed to me in California . They have simply ignored my request.

13. You will appreciate that it takes no great effort for both courts to send the transcripts and the audio recordings (in the case of the High Court) to me in California . This is crucial evidence that a Defendant is entitled to rely on his defense.

14. It would be a waste of my time to tell the Minister for Law and the Attorney General what the law is, but let me say this again for the public and Singaporeans.

15. In these proceedings just as in criminal proceedings, it is necessary not only to appraise the Defendant of the charges against him but also provide him with not only incriminating evidence but any exculpatory evidence or any other relevant evidence which he needs. And what is more the Tribunal has to do it without my asking.

16. In this case right form the very start, the Tribunal has failed in their duty. First except for the sending me charges and asking for my lawyer's name, which I have none, they did not provide anything else. Yet, for instance, their charges and notices refer to rules and statutes that they intend to rely on, which they totally fail to provide.

17. And then after my reminding them of this, they sent me a copy of the rules but nothing else.

18. Now, I have had no choice to file my defense (which I did) without the benefit of any of the testimony court transcripts of the court hearings nor the audio recordings. This has caused me undue prejudice.

19. Now about my travel to Singapore .

20. You would agree I hope that a Defendant has a right to defend himself in court. The court dates have been fixed either for February or March next year. As you are aware, I am prohibited from re-entering Singapore unless I have written permission as per your government order last year after my deportation from your island.

21. I had written to your Tribunal whose responsibility it is to arrange these things, but not surprisingly, yet again, they said they are not interested and that I should write to Singapore Immigration myself. So I did this on Nov 11, 2009 and received a response from them dated the same day saying merely "the matter is receiving attention and we will reply to you in due course". Up till now they have said nothing more.

22. Your Law Society of Singapore, is clearly flouting the basic rules of natural justice. Anyone reading this can see that you are deliberately denying me a fair chance to defend myself.

23. This is not looking good yet again on your claim that you have a first class legal system with the rule of law. This is not the rule of law.

24. In the past, without the benefit of the Internet and with a Defendant helpless in your island, you could get away with any injustice as you want. This time, what you do is being watched by quite a few.

25. I suggest you instruct your Law Society that this will not do. Instruct them to send the transcripts and audio recordings to me as they should and demand an explanation form them why they are deliberately refusing me a chance to defend myself. And with it, provide a sufficient time thereafter to file proper defense.

26. Also demand that they respond as they should to my Singapore travel request. And tell them the general duties of a Disciplinary Tribunal.

27. If you do not do this, once again, your claim to be a first rate legal system would sound familiarly hollow. This, if I may say, is not even third class.

27. I will be posting this on my blog Singapore Dissident and every subsequent development.

Gopalan Nair

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