The court of appeal said the prosecution was not even able to establish without a doubt that Ismil was at the scene of the crime, let alone being a party to the robbery or the killing of the deceased. The gravest injustice, and one that is still being perpetrated in the courts of Singapore, has to be the police practice of withholding statements which are crucial for the defence counsels. "To our consternation, three vital items of evidence were not provided to counsel for the appellants by the prosecution until very late in the proceedings." Justice Rajah said it was an ethical duty to produce the statements as the issue of how many intruders were in the flat during the incident went to the very heart of the case. The victim's husband may have been bed ridden because of a stroke, but he had a clear view of the doorway. The police decided to go with a "confession" extracted in the confines of a police car, "recorded" on a piece of paper, and "transferred" to a field diary by a Senior Station Inspector of 28 years experience. If this is standard professional conduct of the SPF, it makes you wonder about the awards handed out by the Home Affairs Minister all these years.
The redeeming element in this sad tale is that lawyer R Thrumurgan stood by his client during the 6 years he was locked up because of the
There is no great financial reward for Mr Thrumurgan's perseverance, although the judges lauded him for "impassioned advocacy" and "commendable conscientiousness". His own words explain, "It is a privilege to do what we do, to save a life." It is a privilege to have you in the justice system, Mr Thrumurgan, we thank you for restoring our faith in mankind.