The politically correct justification then was that the practice, already prevalent in First World countries like Australia, the United Kingdom, and South Korea, could also save the court precious time and money. What was left unsaid is that unscrupulous law officers can write any damn thing to fix the vulnerable. (At the trial of former Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) chief Ng Boon Gay, when Deputy Director of Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) Teng Khee Fatt was challenged in court about a conflicting entry, he simply dismissed the incongruence with: "I left out the 'not'.") Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah was quick to snuff out further discussion by simply declaring from on high that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had no plans to introduce video recording for the taking of statements. Full stop.
Yesterday, MHA released a press statement announcing that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) will pilot video recording of interviews (VRI) during investigations from the first quarter of next year. It added that together with the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and the Ministry of Law (MinLaw), it has been studying the feasibility of introducing video recording of interviews. Somebody was either not informed, or simply told a bald-faced lie in parliament.
The inter-agency workgroup said that while Singapore’s existing criminal investigation processes are robust, the implementation of VRI in Singapore will further strengthen confidence in the integrity of our criminal justice system. What the workgroup did not say is that the fundamental rights of any individual being questioned by law enforcement officers - the right against self-incrimination and the right of access to a lawyer - are still not addressed after 50 long years. So much for the robustness of criminal investigation processes in Singapore.