27 September 2006
Mr Chan Sek Keong
Republic of Singapore
In the recent summary judgement hearing presided by Judge Belinda Ang on 12 September 2006 in the matter of Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong v. Chee Siok Chin and Chee Soon Juan (Suit Nos. 261 and 262 of 2006), Ms Chee and I were not represented by counsel.
Before the proceedings began, we had informed Judge Ang that our counsel, Mr M Ravi, was not well and that we needed time for him to recover. The Plaintiffs lawyer, Mr Davinder Singh, insisted that our application was nothing but a ploy to delay the hearing. Judge Ang sided with Mr Singh and rejected our application.
This being the case, we then asked to discharge Mr Ravi as our lawyer as he could not continue arguing our matter and to have a two-week adjournment for us to find another lawyer.
Again, Mr Singh objected and again Ms Belinda Ang sided with him. The summary judgement hearing thus proceeded without us having legal representation. Ms Ang ruled in the Lees’ favour. All this was done in her chambers away from the media and public.
Mr Ravi has now been hospitalized. A medical certificate from the hospital has already been produced in court. Given his illness, Mr Ravi was also unable to represent his other clients in three other cases.
It is clear that Judge Ang was wrong not to allow our counsel time to recover or to give us time to try to find another lawyer.
I do not have to tell you that to have a hearing in chambers with one party not having legal representation is a grave breach of the principles of justice.
The defendants would like to appeal Judge Ang’s decision to proceed with the hearing despite the absence of our lawyer. However, we have to pay the security cost of $10,000 which we cannot afford. We would like to ask that the cost be waived given the nature of the case and the circumstances surrounding it. This will enable us to proceed with the appeal and have justice not only done, but also manifestly seen to be done.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party