Judge Rajah disallows proceedings to be in open court

October 21, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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The judge presiding over the case of the four protesters versus Minister Wong Kan Seng and Police Commissioner Khoo Boon Hui has refused to allow the proceedings to continue in an open court.

Instead he has directed both parties to present their submissions on 28 Oct 2005 whereupon he will decide on whether to accede to the Attorney-General’s (AG) application to strike out the protester’s Originating Motion.

In his arguments Mr M Ravi, lawyer for the Applicants, said that an open hearing would allow the press to report the case so that the public can be informed of the arguments. Mr Ravi quoted the late judge, Lord Denning:

… a newspaper reporter is in every court…He notes all that goes on and makes a fair and accurate report of it. He supplies it for use either in the national press or in the local press according to the public interest it commands. He is, I verily believe, the watchdog of justice. If he is to do his work properly and effectively we must hold fast to the principle that every case must be heard and determined in open court. It must not take place behind locked doors. Every member of the public must be entitled to report in the public press all that he has seen and heard. The reason for his rule is the very salutary influence which publicity has for those who work in the light of it.

Despite this, the judge decided that the hearing should continue in chambers.