Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Developments In Law

Just as there are those who buy Playboy magazine to read the articles, surely there must be some who are following the salacious revelations of the Central Narcotics Bureau chief's corruption trial for the fine points of law.

Lawyer for the defense sought to impeach the key prosecution witness over her inconsistencies in presenting testimony when impeachment is usually carried out by the prosecuting party, and "fairly rare" by a defence counsel. Latter observation was opined by Louis Joseph, a lawyer with L.F. Violet Netto. At risk for the hostile witness was liability for giving false statements to the police under Section 182 of the Penal Code, or committing perjury to the Court. There's one other issue at hand - providing self incriminating evidence under duress. Forget all the movies you have watched about the Miranda law - the warning given to criminal suspects in custody before they are interrogated to preserve the admissibility of their statements which are likely to be used against them in subsequent trial proceedings - inaccessibility to counsel during questioning must be one of those uniquely Singapore sacred elephants which won't ever be slayed.

Cullen Murphy's provocative book, "God's Jury, The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World", demonstrates that the medieval mindset of extracting information by men of the cloth such as Torquemada is very much still in play. From the archives of the Vatican to meticulous records of the Third Reich and the camps of Guantánamo, it is shown that the surveillance, censorship and “scientific” interrogation tools of the Inquisition may have been tweaked through the ages - and who would have thought the modern air conditioner would be so effective in the hands of the sadistic brutes at Whitley Road Detention Center? -  but the problematic result remains the same. Validity of a confession extracted under severe duress. Black's Law Dictionary (6th ed.) defines duress as "any unlawful threat or coercion used... to induce another to act [or not act] in a manner [they] otherwise would not [or would]".

The book goes into excruciating detail about how human anatomy is painfully deconstructed by ropes and pulleys on the rack, how death at the burning stake is concluded mostly by asphyxiation rather than the licking of the flames. The horrible endings followed a meandered system of injustice, reminding us the making of the present may bring about equally ugly consequences. Will the law be mocked? The jury is out on this, and we don't even have a jury system to speak of.


  1. Jury system was abandoned in 1961 for practical reasons......chances of them bringing in back......rather impractical I must say.

    Calling Judge Joseph Dredd.....

  2. It seems as a prevalent practice that confessions are handed out to the court before the court has ruled on its admissibility. Does this not colour the mind of the court?
    Someone has to address this. A judge who sees a confession before ruling on its admissibility should be asked to recuse himself. The law must be establish somehow.

  3. If you are being cross-examined by a bully like him in a national conversation, do you think you would have been satisfied with the so-called "dialogue" outcome? What has changed since those years?


    Now imagine being croxx-examined in such duress, what can one expect ?
    This nation only gives you the entitlement right to work and make money. Anything else like culture, individual right and political rights are relegated to the national dustbin. That' s the entitlement the ruler has over the serfs.

  4. All the drama and ink spilled, and we still have not been told which contracts were awarded to witness' employer in exchange for what favours. Even as a diversion from the "more important national issues", this is proving to as frustrating as watching Taiwanese or Korean SOP, low productivity, utter waste of taxpayers money (but probably good for GDP since lawyers and AGC staff would be paid fat bonuses, also boost retail sales (more condoms and more newspapers sold) and all chronically adulterous senior servants would henceforth choose discrete hotels along Balmoral Road over rendezvous in a carpark).

  5. Would that mr paul from cnb be charged?