Singapore — Lawyer M Ravi, who has been representing a number of inmates on Death Row lately, said on Tuesday (Oct 20) morning that he had been asked to apologise by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) for remarks he made outside the Supreme Court on Monday concerning how the prosecution handled a capital punishment case that was overturned that day.
The demand was made in a letter from Mr Hri Kumar Nair, SC, the Deputy Attorney-General. Mr Ravi posted it on his Facebook page early on Tuesday afternoon.
Mr. Hri Kumar, SC from the AG's office has written to me a letter today asking me to apologise and retract certain …
The AGC took exception to several comments Mr Ravi made in an interview with The Online Citizen Asia, including that the Public Prosecutor had been “overzealous” in the prosecution of Mr Gobi Avedian, 32, whose conviction was overturned on Monday.
The other comments included Mr Ravi having said that “it was troubling” that the Public Prosecutor had run a different case before the High Court and the Court of Appeal, that the Public Prosecutor, as well as others, should apologise to Mr Gobi, and that “the fairness of the Prosecution” is called into question by the Court of Appeal.
According to the Deputy AG, Mr Ravi had made “serious allegations that the Public Prosecutor has acted in bad faith or maliciously in the prosecution” of Mr Gobi, calling the lawyer’s accusations “false and highly inflammatory”.
The letter ended with the “demand that you apologise and unconditionally retract all of the allegations above in writing”.
Mr Ravi was asked for a response in writing by Thursday (Oct 22) at noon and told that, should he fail to do so, a “necessary complaint” would be filed against him.
In his Facebook post, Mr Ravi said that he is “entitled to my criticisms of the unfairness associated to the miscarriage of justice”, and that, as Mr Gobi’s counsel, he is “entitled to make my professional views known, and state matters like the unfairness in the prosecution of Gobi as to why prosecution ran a different case at trial and appeal as observed by the court”.
He added: “Human Rights Lawyers do this all the time, especially you can’t be silent when a death sentence has been set aside on the basis of a MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE IN A DEATH PENALTY CASE.”
Calling Mr Hri Kumar’s action “a bold threat”, Mr Ravi said that it is the Deputy AG who should apologise to him, “for sending this letter as this tantamounts to humiliating Gobi and his family by insulting them further to threaten their counsel to apologise when these government lawyers who handled Gobi’s case are the wrongdoers”.
“The public should demand the AG to restract this letter and apologise,” he added.
Mr Ravi also wrote that he has “taken instructions” from Mr Gobi and his family to start legal proceedings against Attorney-General Lucien Wong, Mr Hri Kumar and Senior Counsel Mohamed Faizal Abdul Kadir.
He added that he will be answering the Deputy AG’s letter. /TISG