Monday, 19 July 2010

Making a Lucrative Living Out of the Leviathan

Now that lawyer Bachoo Mohan Singh had won his case, I am sure all tax-payers would be as curious as his sister, Mrs Ivy Singh-Lim, to want to know how much State funds had been spent on prosecuting the innocent lawyer.

It was reported that that his sister put up the $1 million needed for his case. Now that he has won, it would mean that the costs would be borne by the State. So how much was incurred which ultimately would be borne by the tax-payers?

Assuming that both party-and-party costs would have to be paid by the State to the winning party's lawyer and costs would also be incurred by the public prosecutor, could it be in the region of $2 million?

Has apathy, which the past Law Society president Mr Michael Hwang identified as "a Singaporean trait not confined to lawyers" (in his speech at the Edu Dine dinner on Aug 14), also hit our independent Judiciary?

Why is the a fair route to ensure finality in the administration of justice so tedious and costly?

I doubt the "finality principle" is being strictly applied to help our system achieve greater justice and fairness or contending parties in Court cases. This is certainly painful for many, such as those cases involving tortious responsibility to compensate accident victims.

As noted in my separate posting [ "Miscarriage of justice should not even happen at all...", Letter to TODAY Online ], perhaps, we had left our judicial system to work too much on a model of counter-checking and following others' precedence under the Common Law system and if not, to leave it for a higher Court by taking the easier route of an "interim" judgment. The converse is to exercise taking greater (and own) responsibility to ensure fairness and finality in the administration of justice, without leaving it to a possibility of unending contentious matter which will prolong the legal process and place substantial burden on those seeking justice financially.

What is our High Court, the Public Prosecutor and those in the legal profession trying to prove with this case - that the legal profession is noble one or a multi-million-dollar legal business exists? And is justice only available to those who can afford it, just like Mrs Ivy Singh-Lim, who probably would have mortgaged or sold her assets to support her brother to fight this case?

But the final outcome of this legal saga is that the tax-payers would have to food the million-dollar legal bill now. The actual gainers are those in the legal profession and the super-salaried public officers. Is this the way to make a lucrative living out of LEVIATHAN @ SG?

Reference :-
Straits Times Online
Jul 16, 2010
Singh-Lim relieved and angry

AFTER her elder brother was acquitted by the Court of Appeal, the biggest reaction came from Mrs Ivy Singh-Lim, who put up the $1 million needed for his case.

After the court was adjourned, she said loudly that she wanted to know how much State funds had been spent on prosecuting Mr Bachoo Mohan Singh.

She then made a number of phone calls announcing the court victory.

Outside the courtroom, a worked up Mrs Singh-Lim, arms pumping and in a raised voice, criticised the media for what she deemed inaccurate reporting. She also made references to unnamed people who had landed her brother in trouble, labelling them 'scum'.

Trailed by reporters as she left, she declared that she was going to kiss the ground, although she did not say why she wanted to do so.

The minute she walked out of the court building with her brother and his lawyer friend Charles Tan, Mrs Singh-Lim made good on her promise by lying prostrate on the ground and kissing the floor as passers-by looked on in bemusement....

...she wanted to know how much State funds had been spent on prosecuting ...

Read also : Cleared of wrongdoing  By Selina Lum & K.C. Vijayan

AFTER five years and spending about $1 million in legal fees, lawyer Bachoo Mohan Singh, who was initially convicted of helping a client make a false claim, walked out of court a free man.

In throwing out the conviction, the Court of Appeal gave a landmark ruling in a split decision.

Mr Singh, 61, made legal history as the first person charged in Singapore with making a false claim, an offence that has been in force for over a century; he is also the first lawyer in Commonwealth countries to be convicted of such an offence.....

Mr Singh's case arose from a 2003 property deal involving a flat buyer and seller who were in a purported cashhback scheme in which an inflated sale price is declared to the HDB.

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