- Not Understanding the Rules of Evidence;
- Not Knowing Effective Defense Strategies;
- Becoming Overwhelmed by Court Rules.
There's even a proverb, probably first expressed by a lawyer, that says self-representation in court is likely to end badly. The early 19th century expression, attributed to a Henry Kett (1814), goes like this: "I hesitate not to pronounce, that every man who is his own lawyer, has a fool for a client".
Professor Tey Tsun Hang presumably knows his stuff, he is after all a teaching academic at the law faculty of the National University of Singapore. He also probably realises that a third party practitioner might not dare go head-to-head against a system that errs on the side of vindictiveness. One local big shot lawyer is known to make it a point to send a thank note to the public prosecutor, whether he wins the case or not.
The revelations Tey brought out in open court makes it abundantly clear why Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah is in no hurry to introduce video recording for the taking of police statements. Even the most thick skinned of members of parliament will blush if following exchange was aired in the house: "You don't f***ing play with me. This is CPIB, you are a subject."
|"I stab you once, you die beautifully, |
legs straight up. But if you insist,
I can stab you tens of times, and
you die most horrendously."
And when CPIB Deputy Director Teng Khee Fatt was caught with records of wrong timings in his interrogation diary, he cavalierly dismissed the discrepancy with, "But this was the timing that was taken down by me during the time." Forget the niceties of court evidence (taxi receipts establishing timing gaps), what the man writes down is the law. Saddam Hussein had his Jihaz al-Mukhabarat al-Amma, Muammar Gaddafi had his Mukhabarat el-Jamahiriya, Bashar Al-Assad had his Shu'bat al-Mukhabarat al-'Askariyya, maybe we might as well have our own Mukhābarāt (Arabic: مخابرات). That cuts out the good cop bad cop charade of a justice system.