High Court Judge Choo Han Teck today dismissed the Criminal Motion applications of Mr Gandhi Ambalam and Dr Chee Soon Juan without even bothering to listen to their arguments.
A Criminal Motion allows the High Court a supervisory role in trials where irregularities have been cited.
In the present case, one of the police witnesses was found to have been present in the courtroom whilst his colleagues were on the stand giving evidence. He was also seen going in and out of the courtroom talking to other police witnesses.
Given such a development where there is concern that the evidence could have been tainted thus affecting the outcome of the trial, the Defendants applied to the High Court for the trial to be aborted by way of a Criminal Motion.
But something fishy was in play when the Registrar fixed the hearing today when the Motion was filed just yesterday. The applicants had not asked for an urgent hearing.
The usual procedure is for the applicants to ascertain with the Registrar whether the application has been processed as well as the date for the hearing. A copy of the Motion would then have to be served on the opposing party, in this present case the Attorney-General.
But all this was by-passed and the hearing was quickly and curiously fixed for 11 am this morning of 31 Oct 06.
It all became clear when the session started.
Dr Chee began by asking why the hearing had been fixed in such haste, preventing the applicants from preparing for it. He had not even had the time to serve the Motion on the AG’s Chambers.
“This doesn’t pass the smell test,” the SDP secretary-general pointed out. “Is there some kind of a collusion going on here?”
Ms Jennifer Marie, representing the AG, then asked the court to dismiss the applications because Mr Yap Keng Ho had made a similar application the day before and this was dismissed by the same Judge, Mr Choo Han Teck.
Mr Ambalam and Dr Chee then argued vehemently that Mr Yap case was a separate matter and the arguments that they were going to make would be qualitative different from those of Mr Yap’s.
Dr Chee told the court that he would be looking into Section 27 of the Supreme Court Adjudicature Act, Article 162 of the Constitution as well as principles of justice found in Evidence, Advocacy and the Litigation Process by Jeffrey Pinsler. All these arguments were not canvassed by Mr Yap in his Criminal Motion hearing yesterday.
The SDP leader then added that he wanted to play the game by the rules but the Court was making this extremely difficult because these rules kept changing for oppositionists.
He queried that if Judge Choo had heard Mr Yap’s Motion, why couldn’t he hear the present applications?
Mr Ambalam told the Judge: “All I want is for justice to be served. Dr Chee and I are interested in upholding the law and we want to feel that justice is done when we walk out of the court at the end of this hearing.”
The Judge dismissed the application.
The Criminal Motion
Take notice that the Court will be moved on the day of 2006 at am/pm on an application on the part of the Applicant for the following orders:-
1. That there is a mis-trial in that the DPP had misled the court in not informing the trial court in PS00733-2006 on 25 & 26 of Oct 2006 in that the witness Investigating Officer Jeremy Koh had witnessed the proceedings from the outset of the trial in which event the said trial is aborted;
2. That the accused had suffered grievous injustice in violation of Article 9 (1)(2)(3), Article 12 and Article 14 of Constitution of Republic of Singapore;
3. That the Attorney General had misled the court and violated Articles 9 and 12 of Constitution of Republic of Singapore and that he be disciplined by this Honorable Court for misleading the Court, and that the Attorney-General be referred to an independent tribunal. Alternatively a complaint is laid before this Court to take necessary disciplinary measures against the Attorney-General and the Deputy Public Prosecutor concerned;
4. That the State Council be directed by this Honorable Court to advise the President of Singapore to convene a constitutional court under Article 100 of the Constitution of Republic of Singapore on an emergency for serious breaches of the separation of powers.
Chee Soon Juan