Tensions arose midway through this morning’s proceedings on the Alan Shadrake case when defense counsel M Ravi made an application for Deputy Public Prosecutor Hema Subramanian to withdraw a statement.
At issue was the following portion of Ms Subramanian’s submissions:
“The suggestion of his [Mr Ravi’s] submissions seems to be that the present and past contempt cases were brought because the AG is “overly sensitive” and “thin-skinned” and not because the statements in question were actually contemptuous. Embedded in these submissions is the suggestion that the Judges who heard the earlier contempt proceedings and found contempt were only “rubber stamping” the AG’s application and not because on the laws and facts, there was actually contempt.”
Mr Ravi, responded that these were serious allegations and a serious imputation on his character.
“What a scandalous allegation is that,” he told Justice Quentin Loh. “She is saying I should be held in contempt of court.”
Ms Subramanian then stood up to rebut Mr Ravi but was told by the Judge that two people should not be speaking at the same time. She then sat down.
Mr Ravi requested a withdrawal of Ms Subramaniam’s statements.
Justice Loh did not address the request, saying that no charges were being filed against Mr Ravi at the current moment.
Mr Ravi said that the Attorney-General’s Chambers had sufficient opportunity to object to any part of his oral submissions yesterday during the hearing, but had instead chosen to level this accusation today.
Mr Ravi also noted that the Attorney-General’s statements were a threat that could compromise his conduct of his case. He then stated that if contempt proceedings were proffered against him, he would have to discharge himself from the case as he would be in a position of conflict.
Justice Quentin Loh then gave the assurance that if the Attorney General were to press charges against Mr Ravi because of the current proceedings, they would be heard before him and he would be given a fair hearing.
Mr Ravi expressed his confidence in the impartiality of Justice Loh, and said that given this assurance he would continue to conduct Mr Shadrake’s defence.
The hearing continues this afternoon.
TOC has obtained the following response from Mr Ravi. We publish it in full below.
“The Attorney-General’s Chambers has opportunistically used the cover of court proceedings to threaten me with future contempt proceedings.
This is a grave threat against members of the Singapore Bar whose duty it is to fearlessly and zealously canvass their clients’ cases.
To the extent that they impute I have scandalized the judiciary by submission on my client’s behalf, I will be taking legal advice and follow-up action.”