They offered to drop the charges if he apologised but he refused to roll over. The contempt of court charges only require the prosecutors to prove that there is "inherent tendency" to affect the administration of justice:
"Attorney-General v Hertzberg and others  1 Singapore Law Reports 1103, which has generated worldwide interest as it arose out of articles published in the Wall Street Journal Asia. In Hertzberg, the High Court of Singapore held that utterances by an alleged contemnor are actionable if they merely have an inherent tendency to affect the administration of justice."
It was reported that the prosecution will put up 20 pages of Shadrake book as evidence. It does not matter if those 20 pages contain fact or fiction, as long as "inherent tendency" can be proven Shadrake will be found guilty. i.e. for Shadrake to win, he has to prove he did not write his own book given what those 20 pages say about how the law is applied in Singapore it is trivial to prove 'inherent tendency'. The integrity of our courts is protected by prosecuting anyone who questions it. That there is justice and equality in our legal system and anyone who says otherwise will be presecuted by the system itself will reassure the public of its integrity is a strange notion. What this will effectively do is intensify the fear in ordinary citizens to speak up when they experience injustice and unequal treatment under the system. The just and equal administration of the law depends very much on the people running the system - what goes on in their head, what they fear will happen to them if they behave in a certain way. Knowing that they are protected because people are unable to speak up against the justice system will take away some amount of check and balance in the system.
The Shadrake case somehow reminds me of another 'equality' issue that was discussed a few years ago....and I will use it to illustrate that whatever the intent of the laws and systems we have in place ultimately it is people in the system and their attitude that determines if you get fair and equal treatment for all. A few years ago, the issue of whether there were NS men identified 'white horses' cropped up in parliament. For the non-Singaporeans reading this, these 'white horses' were the sons of the rich and powerful and there was unhappiness among Singaporeans who perceived that these 'white horses' were given special treatment during NS. Cedric Foo who was Minister of State for Defence explained that 'white horses' did exist and these people were classified to ensure that they did not receive special treatment[Link] i.e. they were to be treated the same as sons of cleaners and hawkers. So the expectation of the govt was that once the COs, ICs and platoon commanders knew that there was a 'white horse' in their unit, they would make sure that he was treated as harshly as they would treat a hawker's son. That is how the PAP expects human beings to behave to bring about greater equality in our society ...that also explains the level of equality we have been getting as a result of their policies. Whether our justice system is fair, depends on the people in the system and how vigorously they will pursue equality in the application of the law....that Vui Kong is treated the same as anyone else even the child of an MP or someone from the upper echelons of our society depends on the people in the system and what they believe will be the consequences of their actions. So if a SAF commander believes that he will be badly reprimanded if he does not punish a 'white horse' as harshly as he would a hawker's son, there will be greater equality among those serving their NS. Those who have served their NS can see for themselves what actually happens on the ground and that is also true for the justice system...people will know what the truth is regardless of what can and cannot be said about the system.
Death penalty book author defiant in Singapore [Link]
(AFP) – 16 hours ago
SINGAPORE — A British author facing a possible jail term over his book criticising Singapore's use of the death penalty was defiant following his first court hearing Friday.
Alan Shadrake appeared in a packed courtroom to hear contempt of court charges levelled against him by the Attorney General following the local launch of his book "Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock".
A High Court judge granted an adjournment, giving Shadrake's lawyer two weeks to further prepare for the case and another week for prosecutors to respond.
With his passport impounded to prevent him from leaving the country, the 75-year-old freelance journalist remained defiant despite facing possible imprisonment.
"Whatever they do to me, it will prove whatever I say in my book," he told reporters outside the court after the hearing.
"I'm not a wimp, I'm not a coward," Shadrake added. "I want to have my day in court... I'm not running away. If I run away, it means I'm guilty."
Shadrake's book features candid conversations with a retired hangman, Darshan Singh, who the author says executed some 1,000 local and foreign criminals in a career spanning nearly half a century.
Based in Malaysia and Britain, Shadrake is out on bail for the contempt charges, and is undergoing a separate investigation for criminal defamation.
Defamation carries a sentence of two years' imprisonment or a fine or both, while contempt of court is "punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine, with no limits on either," said a statement from the Attorney General's Chambers.
Amnesty International and other human rights groups have urged Singapore to abolish the death penalty.
Amnesty said that with a population of nearly five million, Singapore has one of the highest per capita execution rates in the world. It executed 420 people between 1991 and 2004.
However, Singapore officials maintain that capital punishment has deterred drug dealers from operating in the country and spared the lives of thousands of young people from drugs.
The death penalty is mandatory for anyone caught trafficking more than 15 grams of heroin, 30 grams of cocaine or 500 grams of cannabis.
Shadrake said his arrest had been counterproductive for the Singapore authorities.
"They've blown me up into a worldwide celebrity," he said, adding that his book was "selling like hot cakes" in neighbouring Malaysia.
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