Posts Tagged ‘Criminal justice’

Why AG has a good reason to appeal Wally Woffles’ sentence

In Political governance on 18/06/2012 at 5:08 am

Netizens are up in arms over Wally Woffles’ $1000 fine. There are several reasons for this, and I will explore a darker reason later this week, I hope.

I was annoyed by his comment as reported in ST (remember this is the newspaper that is perceived by many as having an agenda when reporting the news) that he believes “many people similarly did not know that this is an offence”. I take this to mean that he still doesn’t realise the seriousness of what he did (in spirit helping to pervert the course of justice) and is not repentant. In fact, he comes across in the ST report, as saying,”This is not an offence that even merits me paying a ‘peanuts’ of a fine.” Why he was such a Wally to behave in such a perceived manner could be due to sheer arrogance or stupdidity or both. And anyway only a Wally would talk to the media: sit down and shut up is my advice when approached by a ST or SPH report.

In view of his unrepentant attitude to in spirit perverting the course of justice, this is a good reason for the Attorney-General to change his mind and appeal the sentence. The AG’s Chambers had earlier said that it was not going to appeal the sentence because a fine is “within the norm of usual sentences” under that charge.

This appeal is not throwing meat to the snarling beasts of the internet jungle, or handing over someone to the vigilantes from cowboy towns: but a proper and proportionate response to a unrepetent criminal (if ST is to be trusted) who in spirit perverted the course of justice.

But it would seem that the AG would do no such thing. SIGH, it would have dispelled the notion that the rich are different. Gd responses to the official spins coming from Law Minister and AG.



What price human dignity or safety?

In Political governance on 03/04/2012 at 5:58 am

(Or “It’s official: cheating is “bigger” crime than brutal assault”)

I tot of these headlines last Saturday as I read that a High Court judge allowed a $400,000 bail set by the lower court for each of the three directors of Profitable Plots to be reduced. He ordered bail for two amg moh FTs – John Andrew Nordmann,  and Timothy Nicholas Goldring – to be cut to $200,000 each, while Singaporean Geraldine Anthony Thomas, Nordmann’s wife, had her bail reduced to $150,000.

All three were still at Singapore Changi Prison, where they have been remanded since they were each charged in the Subordinate Courts with 86 criminal counts of abetment for conspiracy to defraud investors of US$2.42 million on investments related to an industrial lubricant called Boron early last week. They are trying to raise funds to post bail, it is understood.

The defendants’ lawyer had asked for bail to be reduced to $15,000 each because the three had not absconded and had abided by bail conditions during investigations. But the deputy public prosecutor  disagreed, rightly, saying that the situation is different now that the three are charged in court. The three pose as flight risks given the size of the losses and that they, if convicted, may be jailed for up to 10 years per charge.

One can only wonder why the authorities placed such a low value of around $12,000 bail, I believe, per ang moh FT, in the case of the ang moh FTs who brutally beat up several S’poreans at Suntec City in 2010. It was set so low, that two of them tot it smarter to run away and forfeit their money, when they were allowed to travel overseas.

Why the discrepancy between the dollar value of a crime and its consequences on human dignity or safety is what the Home Affairs minister and DPM should be asking the relevant people in Home Team and other relevant agencies.  The minister had said in parly in March,”If there were any lapses or negligence, the police will take appropriate disciplinary action against the officers involved. We expect the internal inquiry to be completed next month.” Hopefully, he would now ask them to explain why the authorities placed such a low value on human dignity and life. But pigs would fly first, I suspect.

This is S’pore and money talks. Remember the MP who said that he could only respect those earning serious money?  Dr Lim was reported by the Chinese press in 2011 as having said:“If the annual salary of the Minister of Information, Communication and Arts is only $500,000, it may pose some problems when he discuss policies with media CEOs who earn millions of dollars because they need not listen to the minister’s ideas and proposals, hence a reasonable payout will help to maintain a bit of dignity.”

True he finally apologised saying, “Dignity cannot be and must not be measured purely in monetary terms”. But boy did he twist and turn before he decided to apologise.

No I’m not exaggerating. Minister Teo was asked about the assessment of foreigners for flight risk, the measures taken to prevent such foreigners from absconding and the criteria applied in the assessment of whether extradition proceedings against such foreigners who have fled jurisdiction will be commenced. In reply, he said that there is a standard set of procedures for the handling of accused persons, whatever their nationality, from arrest, to investigation, to charging them in court, and to police bail (Emphasis added).

Better to beat up a S’porean by bashing his head against a pillar, than cheat a S’porean of his money is my understanding of the way the two cases were handled and the minister’s words seem to confirm that my interpretation is reasonable. BTW, he tried to deflect blame from Home Team and the other authorities saying that the court had the final say in deciding bail. Err who makes the request in the first place, minister?