Friday, July 26, 2013

Beyond Reproach

The Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) is absolutely right when it says commentators "appeared to have misunderstood" how the process works. Problem is, none of us is really sure of how it does work.

On the one hand, the lawyers and parents of Changi Prison inmate Dinesh Raman Chinnaiah were told by State Coroner Imran Abdul Hamid that no coroner’s inquiry on the circumstances of his death will be held.

Then, in response to queries from The New Paper, an AGC spokesman had replied via e-mail: “In view of the conclusion of criminal proceedings, the inquiry has been discontinued.” Was the inquiry in progress, then stopped, or never got started in the first place? The classic chicken and egg conundrum. The latest AGC statement says that "The coroner has a discretion to discontinue the proceedings before him if he determines that there is no longer a need for an inquiry to determine the cause of and circumstances connected with the death." Bearing in mind that the prosecution has no powers to compel the coroner - or so we are told - to exercise this discretion, wouldn't it settle all quibbles and disrepute about the AGC if the coroner establishes transparently once and for all Dinesh wasn't unduly pepper sprayed, arm locked in a choke hold, and have a couple of ribs cracked in the process? You know, the whole Shane Todd thingy that demolished conspiracy theories for the whole wide world to see.

The same AGC, supposedly to protect the administration of justice in Singapore and uphold the integrity of one of our key public institutions, is initiating legal proceedings in the High Court against a cartoonist for contempt of court by scandalising the judiciary of Singapore. The offending cartoon strips are alleged  to carry imputations that are scurrilous and false. Imputations that can be destroyed easily if the actual situations depicted are indeed above and beyond reproach. If the intent is to burnish it's shiny image of justice administration without fear or favour, there has to be a better approach then sweeping everything under the carpet with a $10,000 fine.

Lawyers for the cartoonist explained their strategy, "To succeed in our defence, we must show that there is no real risk in the public confidence of the independence of the judiciary." Stripping away the legalese, that's like saying the AGC is built of stronger construct, not some thin skinned wimp with skeletons in the cupboards to hide. Now that is a concept we can understand, and hold our heads high for.


19 comments:

  1. Mr Masagos, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs, said: "I have worked with the prison officers for many years around rehabilitation issues. They work in a very challenging environment but despite this, they focus on the noble effort to bring rehabilitation a reality for the prisoners to ensure that prisoners when they come out of prison will have the best chance to reintegrate into society. It is indeed regrettable that this incident has happened."

    I am sure this is very reassuring to Dinesh's parents. He is not around any more for rehabilitation and the chance to reintegrate into society! Is Justice blind or just colour blind? No efforts were spared in the Shane Todd coroner inquiry.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sick Singaporean7/26/2013 2:08 PM

    One dead man -never mind. One cartoon - cannot must pursue! Wonder if north korea has similar experiences.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dead man speaks no word.
      Cartoonist oso no talk, but
      seen as latent threat.

      Delete
  3. "To succeed in our defence, we must show that there is no real risk in the public confidence of the independence of the judiciary."

    This epitomises the old fart's world view: the goal of course is not the "confidence" of the public. Unless of course you believe that throwing a cartoonist in jail or bankrupting his career serve to enhance public confidence.

    The system wants to achieve 2 things: a) in a totalitarian regime, any AG or any gatekeeping mad dog not showing enough enthusiasm to persecute even the tiniest threat will eventually die by the sword b)you cannot have a totalitarian regime if you lose the ability to control the formation of public opinion, as Goebbels (Nazi germany's propaganda chief) once said. Cartoonist is a threat to them the same way Calvinists were a threat to the pope eons ago.

    As for extra judicial murders, they are learning fast from their colleagues in KL. And death under detention is also an effective way the old special forces of the 1960s used to show potential political detainees their fate when the time comes. Unfortunately, no totalitarian regime will go quietly, so better prepare yourselves for even more sinister forms of black terror. You are only at level 1, now lets see whether you have what it takes to become Mandela...

    ReplyDelete
  4. ironically, it is the actions of the AGC that is prompting some of us to ask questions about several matters in several areas, one of them being the application of laws here.

    does this mean the AGC should be charged for contempt of court? sedition? or perhaps just audited on performance?

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  5. what the roles and responsibilities of the agc?

    where does it allegiance lies????

    ReplyDelete
  6. In almost all countries, the Judiciary invariably is with the Regime and or the Military, whichever is in command of their country.
    Doubt there is any truly independent(of ruler/ruling party) Judiciary anywhere anytime in history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. alas, under such cicumstances;

      they (in any country) are like pet dogs?
      their lives are subjected to the whims and fancy of the masters?

      Delete
  7. Siao la, charge what charge? Who, tell me who turns to political cartoons for serious opinions or commentaries? Charging a cartoonist for contempt of court? Now that's real-life cartoon la.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does this not prove SinCity has kangaroo cartoon characters dispensing justice ? Sadly, these kangaroos have gone overboard taking themselves too seriously when they have yet to prove beyond doubt their past and recent judgements have been without fear or favour to anyone.
      By the way, I am bugs bunny, so what's up doc ?

      Delete
  8. Nobody likes to be the butt of jokes,satire or critique.

    It is unsolicited appraisal.

    It is rejected & denied more by wealthy, powerful, influential people than poor, powerless, insignificant people.

    Nobody checks on the people who has power, influence and wealthy.

    No one.

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  9. It's just a bloody comic strip, for laughs, not to be taken seriousely, unless you are a tight insecure asshole. Do you charge Zorro for his toothpick antics, or just laugh it off as an idiosyncracy? Obama laughs at his caricatures, even says his ears are too short, and his administration is no worse off. That's class, confidence, and psychology.

    If a system is truely robust, it can withstand all criticisms. Get rid of the fire and there will be no smoke. I see hot spots popping up everywhere, even in the Istana - good luck! Th-th-th-that's all folks.

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  10. The joke is not on the cartoon, but on nepotism and corruption.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LIm Boon Heng as Chairman of Temasek is not a joke but won't you suspect that he is a crony?

      Delete
  11. The Pope selects the cardinals who appoints the Pope.

    /// The Straits Times to-day (July 27) reported that in an interview with PSC Chairman, Eddie Teo, he revealed that “just 60 percent of this year’s scholars hails from Raffles and Hwa Chong Institutions DOWN FROM 82 PERCENT IN 2007″! ///

    Source:
    http://www.tremeritus.com/2013/07/28/why-ar-psc-scholarships-mainly-awarded-to-raffles-hwa-chong/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is this leegalized corruption or nepotism?

      Delete
  12. Both can exist simultaneously
    and maybe complement and supplement each other.
    Villians and heroes exist in any land and at the same time, this is the nature of human society.
    However, when corruption and nepotism both happen within a country, the country goes to the dogs. It is most unfortunate for the Citizenry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correction to 'villians and heroes' to 'villians and despots'.........

      Apology fr
      Anon 6:03 PM

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete