27 Sep 2006

Chees write to Chief Justice on summary judgement hearing

27 September 2006

Mr Chan Sek Keong
Chief Justice
Supreme Court
Republic of Singapore

Dear Sir,

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


Anonymous said...

This is interesting and needs the attention of the international media. First of all a summary judgement in a defamation case is highly unorthodox as the facts or the so called defamatary statement has not been proven as a fact and the damage caused has not been proven. Submissions by both party must be crossed examined before a judgement can be passed based on arguments. This becomes more complicated when the words uttered are considered defamatory by "innuendo". For example if I say "He is a criminal" it is a direct defamatary statement, however if I say "I have a police report" than its always open to intepretation or misintepretation according to how well you can argue your case. But to give summary judgement is to accept the defences' submission even without calling evidence.

Second, to assume that there is a ulterior motive for someone falling sick without being backed by facts is not very prudent. Can it be proven that he is malingering, highly unlikely and investigation takes time. Taking the other lawyers word for it does not certainly look good in the eyes of the public.

Third, the fact that the lawyer is indeed sick has been proven, so what is the validity of the earlier dismissal by the judge or has the judge who allowed the later postphonement wrong.

Finally, putting financial barriers for the perpertration of justice would seem as denying a person fair justice.

I am sure that there is a rational explanation for the judge's decision based on sound legal argument.

For the sake of independence of the juditiary I believe everyone is waiting for a reply.

lee hsien tau said...

Like I will be waiting with baited breath!

I am currently embroiled with the Court over the Town Council Act. It is a criminal offence to be owing conservancy charges. But CLAS does not extend help to this particular 'criminal offence'.

I've lived in private property before (my old man's). The owners organise their own estate management, choose their own management committees, decide their own charges, manage their own estates. If there is a default, it isn't a crime. Who gains entry into the estate may be controlled. Ilegally parked cars get clamped.

For the past twenty years, I've never got to vote, therefore the MP does not represent me, I have no influence over the Town Council, cannot control the excessive lighting, who uses the lift, who passes my door.

What the fuck crime have I committed when I refuse to pay the protection money demanded by the Town Council.