Govt files and serves argument at the last minute

October 18, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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First it applies for the hearing to be behind closed doors. Now it submits its arguments at the last minute. The Government obviously doesn’t want an open and fair legal contest.

In contesting the Originating Motion (OM) taken out by Ms Chee Siok Chin, Ms Monica Kumar and Mr Yap Keng Ho, the Attorney-General (AG) has filed its arguments at the very last minute and then failed to give a copy to Mr M Ravi, the applicants’ lawyer. Mr Ravi was given a copy of the arguments on 18 October 2005 only after he pestered the AG for it. The AG’s application to strike out the protesters’ OM will take place on 19 October 2005.

Ms Chee, Ms Kumar and Mr Yap have taken out an Originating Motion against Mr Wong Kan Seng, Home Affairs Minister, and Mr Khoo Boon Hui, Commissioner of Police, asking the courts to declare that the police had acted unlawfully when they dispersed the four protesters on 11 August 2005.

In return the Government has applied to dismiss the action taken by the three activists. But instead of making its case on why the protesters’ action should be dismissed in open court which was originally scheduled for 21 October 2005, the Government wants the matter to be dealt in chambers – away from public scrutiny.

With all the resources at its disposal, why does the AG have to resort to such tactics such as denying the protesters sight of its arguments. If it is confident of its case then set it out confidently and in an honourable manner rather then trying to keep information from the protesters and leaving Mr Ravi with no time to prepare his counter-arguments.

Is this how the Government hopes to win the case by first running away from the open hearing on 21 Oct and now by trying to shield its arguments from the protesters?

But then the PAP has never been reknowned for fighting in a gentlemanly manner, has it?