8 Mar 2007

Singapore: Chee writes to Chief Justice about summary judgment without presence of defence counsel

medium_chansekkeong.jpg8 March 2007

Mr Chan Sek Keong
Chief Justice
Supreme Court

Dear Sir,

I would like to draw your attention to some disturbing goings-on during a hearing regarding the lawsuit of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (plaintiffs) versus the Singapore Democratic Party, Chee Siok Chin and yours truly (defendants).

We appeared before Judge Belinda Ang on the morning of 11 September 2006 to hear the application by the plaintiffs for summary judgement. This, as you know, was conducted in chambers without the media and the public allowed in.

Our lawyer, M Ravi was not able to be present because he was medically unfit. The plaintiffs' lawyer, Davinder Singh SC (a former PAP member of parliament), insisted, however, that this was "nothing more than another attempt to delay the Order 14 applications."

We tried to explain the situation but having little knowledge of Ravi's condition, it was difficult for us to provide details. All we knew at that time was that he was suffering from the effects of mental and physical exhaustion.

The judge gave us a few hours to produce a medical certificate (MC) for Ravi by the afternoon. We managed to get an MC from a dentist that gave our counsel rest for one day. Ravi had been complaining of a headache resulting from gum problems. It was already in the afternoon when we presented the MC to the Judge, who then adjourned the matter to the following morning of 12 September 2007.

We met Ravi on the morning of 12 September and we could see that he was in no fit state to come to court to argue our case. We informed Judge Belinda Ang of the circumstances and asked for more time for Ravi to recover.

Singh again accused us of being "devious", hatching a "new ploy" to "manipulate" the court process. We rejected these accusations and pleaded for more time.

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