Home News SG Economy AGC rebuking lawyers who took-up Kho Jabing's case, ex-LawSoc President speaks up

AGC rebuking lawyers who took-up Kho Jabing's case, ex-LawSoc President speaks up

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The Attorney-General’s Chambers suggested on Wednesday (25 may) that the lawyers of convicted murderer Jabing Kho had abused court processes in his case, by filing multiple court applications last week in a bid to delay their client’s execution. Two of the three lawyers identified by AGC, Alfred Dodwell and Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss, have given a hard-hitting rebuttal to such allegations (see this: https://theindependent.sg.sg/agcs-media-statement-is-not-gospel-truth-lawyer-alfred-dodwell-hits-back/)
Now, a former President of the Law Society, Mr Peter Low, has jumped in to defend the lawyers who defended the convicted murderer. We republish Mr Low’s Facebook note in full.

Of A Lawyer’s Role In A Public Interest Case
Coming back from interviewing a capital-case client (assigned by the Supreme Court, for which I’ll be paid an honorarium, instead of regular professional fees), here’s my response to AGC’s Press Statement of 25 May 2016.

Jeannette Aruldoss-Chong and Alfred Dodwell honestly thought that they had legitimate reasons to take up the cause of Kho Jabing. Jeannette even paid – from her own pocket – the court fees for filing the court documents and guaranteed the $20,000 deposit for the appeal costs of the Attorney-General. And, both Jeannette and Alfred sacrificed billable hours (and, sleep) to take up the case. Furthest from their minds was “legal opportunism,” whatever that might mean.
In the last 3 over decades, not many senior private sector lawyers have willingly stepped forward to accept unpopular court cases. I hope the AGC’s Press Statement (25 May 2016) will not deter other private sector lawyers from representing clients in public interest litigation, against government agencies and government leaders.
BTW, here’s a statement which our apex court endorsed about the role of lawyers in unpopular causes – and pro bono work. Even in an “apparently hopeless case.”
“It is easier, pleasanter and more advantageous professionally for barristers to advise, represent or defend those who are decent and reasonable and likely to succeed in their action or their defence than those who are unpleasant, unreasonable, disreputable, and have an apparently hopeless case. Yet it would be tragic if our legal system came to provide no reputable defendants, representatives or advisers for the latter.”
Per Lord Peace in Rondel v Worsley [1969] 1 AC 1914, as affirmed by our Court of Appeal in Tang Liang Hong v & Anor [1998] 1 SLR 97
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