British author apologises to S’pore judiciary


A British author convicted of insulting the Singapore judiciary in a book apologised Tuesday for his actions, saying it had not been his intention to undermine judges.

But prosecutors rejected Alan Shadrake’s apology, which came a week after a judge found him guilty of contempt of court over his book about the hanging of criminals in the city-state.

“It was never his intention to undermine the judges or the judiciary,” Shadrake said through his lawyer, M. Ravi, during a High Court hearing.

“He would certainly apologise if he had offended the sensitivities of the judiciary.”

Contempt of court is punishable in Singapore by imprisonment or a fine, or both, with no maximum limit set on either.

Prosecutors said Shadrake’s apology was insincere.

“The apology is half-hearted and hardly an apology. It’s insufficient,” said Hema Subramanian, the deputy senior state counsel with the Attorney General’s chambers.

She called the apology a “tactical ploy to escape the full brunt” of the law and asked the court to sentence him to at least 12 weeks’ imprisonment.

Sentencing on Shadrake had been due to go ahead on Tuesday, but was adjourned for a week.

Shadrake’s book “Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock” contains a profile of Darshan Singh, the former chief executioner at Singapore’s Changi Prison who, according to the author, executed around 1,000 men and women from 1959 until he retired in 2006.

It also features interviews with human rights activists, lawyers and former police officers on cases involving capital punishment.


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