Sunday, January 2, 2011

Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew orders lawyers not to appeal criminal cases

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore state controlled newspaper Straits Times online edition of Jan 03, 2010 has the story "Chief Justice urges criminal lawyers to be ethical". In it, the Chief Justice of Singapore Chan Sek Keong, a Lee Kuan Yew minion, says that criminal lawyers should no longer appeal criminal cases unless meritorious, because otherwise their actions would be considered "unethical".

As this Chief Justice is merely an errand boy for Lee Kuan Yew to do his bidding, a statement such as this coming from him, can be taken categorically as coming from Big Brother himself, Lee Kuan Yew. And another thing, even though the language does not appear entirely mandatory, you can take it from me, that when Singapore's Chief Justice says this, it is nothing short of an order from Big Brother himself.

And what this means for criminal lawyers in Singapore, if you could even call them that, is this, no more appeals for the ordinary Singaporean "non entities", which make up the majority of Singaporeans. From now on, they should be thankful to their master Lee Kuan Yew for whatever punishment they get, rather than thinking they are any smarter and wasting these Glorious Judges time. I guess they have to remember what they are, as Lee Kuan Yew has once referred to them as "digits" and therefore as "digits" they should know their own place.

The intent behind this order from Lee Kuan Yew should be quite clear to anyone. From now on, even the handful of vestiges of an individuals independence, such as the right to appeal, will be taken away and from now on in Singapore, you are a complete slave.

And I guess, knowing the craven fear that all Singaporeans live under, especially their lawyers, who today watch quietly uncomplaining while Lee Kuan Yew abuses their
constitution, the vast majority of them would as I predict, take this to be an order from Big Brother and do exactly as they are told, which is, don't appeal under any circumstances. And the few who dare to challenge it in their folly would find a series of false disciplinary actions facing them to force them to come down to earth. After all, to appeal is to be "unethical".

And I can tell you what this means. The poor victims of Lee Kuan Yew's legal system are going to suffer even more from their arbitrary discriminating justice. And I believe I am qualified to tell you this, as someone who had practiced law in the island for 10 years and also as Lee Kuan Yew's prisoner in 2008 for criticizing one of his judges, Belinda Ang Saw Ean, in this blog.

This is how bad the Singapore criminal system is. Firstly, the defendant when arrested is not told what he is being arrested for except to be told that it is under Section 248 or whatever number of the Singapore Penal Code which naturally he has never heard of. After he is taken to the station he is kept overnight while he is interrogated without the benefit of an attorney. The next day, his detention is extended while more questions are put to him, all without his attorney. In other words throughout his detention in police custody he is denied legal representation.

From personal experience, I can tell you that all defendants would either confess or implicate themselves totally. The police always use coercion threats or inducements to get what they want, and the poor defendant without any idea of criminal law is always the victim. After they have got what they want in a full and complete confession, now for the first time, the defendant is released and permitted to have a counsel. Frankly if you ask any Singapore criminal lawyer, having one after all this is simply useless. The Defendant has already hanged himself, so to speak, with his own rope, metaphorically speaking.

And now the lawyer's only avenue is to go to court and do the impossible, which is to argue that all those confessions were all involuntary, when the Defendant himself has signed a statement to say they were!

And by the way, there are no jury trials in Singapore. What you have is a judge who is so terrified of his boss, Lee Kuan Yew, that it is almost impossible for him to say the police were wrong. And by the way, if you happen to have the misfortune of being known as an opposition politician supporter, you simply had it.

Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore has no respect for the constitution, no respect for the prohibition against unlawful searches and seizures, no respect for the the law against coerced confessions, in other words no respect for all the niceties of freedom that the civilized world cherishes so much. In their way of thinking, you are lucky that you are not taken out to the yard after 5 minutes and shot, as they do perhaps in the Peoples Republic of China, and therefore you should be thankful and stop complaining.

But this is not the whole story. It is not true that everyone should not appeal, only that the vast majority of Lee Kuan Yew's "digits" should not. There are others in Singapore who are not "digits" and you know who I mean, Lee Kuan Yew's high ranking Peoples Action Party members, foreign bank managers and CEOs of foreign companies and editors of the Singapore state controlled press. These privileged classes in the event of finding themselves in trouble, should not only appeal, but they are encouraged to do it.

You must have been following the capers of these privileged class, one of which are foreign bankers. There was a story of an Englishman who got out of his car and literally beat up a local Singaporean in a road rage incident. You guessed it. He appealed his prison sentence and got away with a small fine. Another Englishman who badly beat up a taxi driver for not taking him to where he wanted. Again there was an appeal resulting in a small fine. Another incident of a Scots engineer who was so drunk, he drove off in someone else's truck and when apprehended, beat up the policemen. You are right again, appeal followed by a fine.

Recently Lim Kay Tong, the Singapore actor, whose sister, a doctor was found dead drunk in her car in the middle of Pan Island Expressway at midnight, in the middle lane with all lights switched off and sleeping in the drivers seat. Once again, although the lower court sentenced her to over a year in jail, she appealed and you are quite right, she walked away with a small fine.

And the case that beats them all is that of the Chinese woman editor of the Singapore state controlled newspaper Sin Chew Jit Poh. At the junction of Bradell Road and Bukit Timah Road, while driving her car, she ran over a motorcyclist who had the right of way on Green, permanently maiming the rider and killing the Filipina pillion rider, who happened to be a maid. The investigation revealed that she was talking on her cell phone and ran a Red light and was looking for something in her bag, while driving. The lower court sentenced her to 1 1/2 years in jail, a well deserved punishment. In the end she did not go to jail at all, not even a day! She appealed and walked away with a small fine. The judge gave some lame excuse of her being under stress!

I can tell you in all these cases, had it been a helpless Singaporean before his own courts, there would have been no mercy at all. But as it seems there is one law for the well connected and another for the ordinary dispensable Singaporean "digit".

And if this was not bad enough, this new ruling by the Chief Justice has made Singaporeans now well and truly, just slaves, at the complete discretion of Lee Kuan Yew and his minion judges.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

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Anonymous said...

I repeat comments made in your 21/1/2010 blog 'Singapore's example of rule of law'. One of the most blatantly orchestrated case if you can recall is that of Eddie Taw Cheng Kong. He was a GIC manager based in Hongkong since 1991. In May 1997, he was sentenced to 9 years jail and fined 2.4 million dollars for accepting bribes from companies whose shares were purchased by GIC. In a subsequent appeal, after some long cooling off period and in a low profile mode, he was acquitted by the then Chief Justice Yong Pung How. A very vague excuse like he committed the crime outside Singapore was used to acquit Eddie Taw. Eddie Taw was an executive working with SIA before he was recruited to join GIC by Yong Pung How when Yong was the Managing Director of GIC. Eddie Taw was actually one of the blue-eye boys of Yong. Had it been anybody else, it would not be at all possible to get away scot-free like the way Eddie Taw did.

Anonymous said...

What a shame.
This is evil plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

in singapore justice is what lky says it is.

Anonymous said...

I think there is some truth in Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong's assertions of "unmeritorious" criminal appeals. Recently, there was this lawyer who acted for a batch of clients convicted in a gambling case, all of whom went on appeal. The lawyer just repeated the same written grounds of appeal for the batch of clients and his rationale was it will be supported by oral arguments at the hearing. However, at the appeal hearing he could not elaborate much on his oral arguments when queried by the judge. He was lightly let off after he apologised to the presiding judge on appeal and agreed to refund clients' costs.