7 Mar 2006

Contempt case: Chee asks Law Society to step in

Singapore Democrats Party

OPPOSITION politician Chee Soon Juan has asked the Law Society to weigh in on his contempt of court case.

The secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party has been charged over his accusations that the Singapore judiciary is not independent in its rulings, especially when they involve opposition politicians.

Yesterday, in an open letter to Law Society president Philip Jeyaretnam, Chee said he stood by his comments.

'My statements are not fiction but borne out from my own dealings with the judicial system in my lawsuit and, more important, substantiated by previous cases in Singapore as well as assessments of reputable organisations and individuals well versed with law and jurisprudence from around the world.'

Chee had made the offending remarks on Feb 10 during a hearing that declared him a bankrupt, after he failed to pay $500,000 in court-awarded damages to Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.

The ministers had sued Chee for defamation because of allegations he made during the 2001 General Election.

In the letter, Chee also reiterated his statement in court to the effect that Mr Francis Seow, a former solicitor-general, had also criticised the judiciary for lacking independence.

'Whichever position it takes, I hope that the Law Society, given the important role the organisation plays in this country, will not assume the stance of the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand,' he wrote.

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