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Tan Wah Piow urges AGC to erase the stench of injustice on his table




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Tan Wah Piow has taken issue with the Attorney General Chambers (AGC) reply that it has no power to quash Tan Wah Piow’s conviction – that in Singapore this can only be done by the Court.
In a letter to the AGC (which Mr Tan said the AGC has acknowledged receiving), Mr Tan said: “You are of course right on the jurisdiction point, but my letter of 28th January 2016 invited you “to take all necessary steps” to quash the convictions against each of the three defendants.”
Mr Tan’s letter than listed out the steps the AGC could have taken to quash the convictions against him and the other defendants of the case.
Mr Tan also said that the AGC’s comments about the relevance of Judge Jennifer Marie’s remarks were wrong. The AGC had insisted in its reply to Mr Tan that the remarks of Judge Jennifer Marie in sentencing Phey Yew Kok were entirely unrelated to Mr Tan’s conviction on charges of rioting in 1975.
“I believe your proposition is wrong. Judge Marie’s remarks touched on the evil deeds and character of Phey Yew Kok during the 1973 to 1979 period,” Mr Tan said.
Adding, “although those remarks relate to the specific charges before her, they nevertheless impinge on the character and credibility of Phey Yew Kok at the time when he gave evidence as a prosecution witness in the 1974 “rioting” case.”
Mr Tan pointed out that the criminality of Phey Yew Kok was central to the defence case during his trial.
Mr Tan said in his letter: “I raised the issue of Phey’s criminality when I cross-examined him. That was disallowed by the Judge, and Phey was released as a witness. By his own volition, Phey returned to court the following morning to assert his “good character”. He told the court that he had no criminal record. We now know, following his 2016 conviction that Phey was economical with the truth. In fact at the time when he asserted his good character at my trial in 1974, he was actually in the midst of a criminal enterprise to embezzle trade union funds.”
Since the case of his defence was that Phey Yew Kok was the architect of the frame-up, and since the facts of Phey Yew Kok’s nefarious activities in the 1973-79 period are now known, it it no longer tenable for AGC to ignore the possibility of miscarriage of justice in his case, Mr Tan argued.
Mr Tan further took issue with the following assertion in the AGC’s letter: “Mr Phey was not present at the rioting incident on 30th October 1974. He could not and did not give evidence as to what happened during the incident.”
Mr Tan said that he did not dispute that Phey was not present when his trade union officials overturned the furniture, and smashed the glass panels of their own office to fabricate a ‘riot’.
“Phey Yew Kok’s absence at the scene does not undermine the defence case that he was responsible for the frame-up, and the “riot” was fabricated to advance his agenda,” Mr Tan said.
In his letter to the AGC, Mr Tan also referred to the records of the trial prepared by Judge T S Sinnathuray which the AGC relied on to reply to Mr Tan.
Mr Tan said that he had avoided raising the issue of Judge T S Sinnathuray’s handling of the trial because he believed that the new evidence about Phey Yew Kok’s criminality is more than adequate in law to render the 1975 conviction unsafe.
Mr Tan then brought the attention of the AGC to a forward written in the book Smokescreens and Mirrors by Dr G Raman. Dr Raman was one of the lawyers in the 1975 ‘rioting’ case, and Mr Tan said that the forward showed clearly “what went on in and outside the court beyond what you could glean from the judge’s “comprehensive written decision”.”
“It is clear from G Raman’s sharp observations that T S Sinnathuray handling of the trial is not beyond reproach,” Mr Tan said.
Mr Tan further said, “the injustice in this case is of concern to me on a personal level. It eventually led to my exile. Adding: “the stench of the injustice in this case has unfortunately landed on your desk. I hope you have the vision, courage and commitment to do the right thing.”

Background to the case: https://theindependent.sg.sg/agc-said-it-has-no-power-to-quash-tan-wah-piows-conviction/

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