Sunday, October 02, 2005

CPF protesters suing gahmen.

From ST:
Oct 2, 2005

Protesters seek legal action against minister, police chief

THREE people who were among four protesters told to disperse outside the Central Provident Fund Building in August have filed a motion in the High Court against the Home Affairs Minister and Commissioner of Police.

Ms Chee Siok Chin, Ms N. Gogelavany and Mr Yap Keng Ho said in their affidavit that they were standing peacefully with a fourth person, Mr Tan Teck Wee, outside the CPF Building in Robinson Road on Aug 11 when police asked them to leave.

Each was wearing a white T-shirt emblazoned with words and acronyms in red.

Ms Chee, 39, sister of Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan, said then that their protest had nothing to do with the party.

Her T-shirt had 'National Reserves' printed on the front and 'HDB GIC' on the back.

Ms Gogelavany's T-shirt had 'Be Transparent Now' on the front and 'NKF CPF' on the back.

Mr Yap was holding a placard above his head which read: 'Singaporeans spend on HDB; whole earnings on CPF; life savings - but cannot withdraw when they need.'

Police came and dispersed them, saying they were causing a 'public nuisance'. Their T-shirts and placards were seized later.

The two women and Mr Yap, who are represented by Mr M. Ravi, want a declaration that the Minister and the Commissioner of Police acted 'in an unlawful and unconstitutional manner' when they ordered them to disperse.

Lawyer M. Ravi had recently failed in his bid to get the death sentence lifted for a drug trafficker. Senior lawyers had said it was cruel of him to give the condemned man and his family false hope that a reprieve was possible even at the 11th hour.

A motion is an application made to a judge in open court to obtain an order or rule, directing some act to be done in favour of the applicant.

The case will be heard on Oct 21.

Wow! SDP people are suing the gahmen for being unconstitutional! That is something new. For once it isn’t the gahmen suing people for defamation. According to Mr Wang, a former Deputy Public Prosecutor, no laws had been broken when the 4 persons held a silent protest outside the CPF building. Hence the police had no grounds to disperse them, much less confiscate to their T-shirts and placards.

However if you ask me, I would say all of that are not important. What is important now is whether Singapore’s court would handle the case in an OPEN court in the full view of the public. That is extremely important, because it signify that Singapore judicial system is free from political influences and its judgement can stand up to the scrutiny of all Singaporeans. (There are allegations that Singapore's judicial system is less than independent.)

Another thing I want to highlight is that, ST has once again tried to character assassinate M. Ravi.

Can ST tell me why is exhausting all ways and means to help his client to escape death penalty ‘cruel’?!? Isn’t it the responsibility of a defense lawyer to use all possible means to help his client?

It is nonsensical to brand M. Ravi actions as giving false hope. One will never know the outcome of the appeal if it is never made.

Tell me who is crueller. Lawyers who ask their clients to accept their demise without exhausting all available options to save their lives or M. Ravi who risked his career by appealing to our President for a presidential pardon that will save his client life?


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