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It’s Not Just About Getting Rid of M.Ravi and Removing Opposition to Judicial Killings of Drug Mules. Behind This Is CJ Menon Attempts To Maintain the Fiction of an Independent AG and Judiciary and that JBJ’s Conviction Was Lawful

It goes without saying that I am absolutely disgusted by the Court of Three Judges’ (led by Chief Justice Menon) decision to suspend M. Ravi for 5 years when the Disciplinary Tribunal had only imposed a relatively small fine. Even the Law Society counsel in the appeal was initially asking for a suspension of just three weeks before CJ Menon told their lawyer that the precedents of Nalpon and Gopalan Nair justified a penalty of more than two years. The Court of Three Judges chose to go well beyond the requested suspension, as CJ Menon said they were entitled to do, and disgracefully took no account whatsoever of the fact that Ravi is bipolar and that special account should be taken of his disability.

The Government and our judiciary (Singaporeans can be forgiven for thinking that there is little difference between the two, especially as our Supreme Court judges believe their role is to “greenlight” the executive) may feel it can relax and enjoy a lighter workload now that M.Ravi is no longer there to file “unmeritorious” appeals on behalf of those sentenced to death merely for acting as drug mules. No matter that there is genuine doubt that many of those sentenced knew what they had been asked to carry.

M. Ravi also effectively exposed the racist and classist nature of the Government’s policy of hanging drug mules, particularly in light of the fact that those committing much more heinous offences are frequently sentenced to less than life in prison. There is the case of the man sentenced to only eight years for stabbing his former son-in-law in a frenzied attack and then standing over him as he bled out. Also the woman who was sentenced to only thirty years in prison for having starved and beaten her domestic worker to death in a case of unimaginably sadistic cruelty.

Ravi’s advocacy on behalf of death penalty inmates parallels that of my own father who frequently represented people facing execution. In a case that was documented by Chris Lydgate in Lee’s Law JBJ was tenacious in saving four Malay men who were convicted of killing a security guard during a robbery and sentenced to hang. In that case the AG withheld evidence that the fingerprints of the accused had not been found at the scene but those of another person. After many years of wrongful imprisonment the four were freed when the real culprit was identified and confessed. However no one in the AG’s office was punished for deliberately withholding evidence though the consequence would have been the execution of four innocent men. In fact it was not established till 2020 in the case of Public Prosecutor v Wee Teong Boo that the Prosecution had an obligation to disclose material evidence and despite Shanmugam’s Parliamentary promise to codify this it has still not been done. When the four accused tried to sue for compensation for their years of wrongful imprisonment their claims were dismissed and they were made to pay costs which ended up bankrupting them. So Ravi’s claim that the AG is “overzealous” in its prosecution and has denied accused persons their rights under the Constitution is backed by evidence, even if the rights of the accused to disclosure have now been more firmly established.

In the court’s decision, Menon drew a parallel with the suspension of Gopalan Nair but said that M.Ravi’s criticism of the AG was much more serious because of Ravi’s seniority. Gopalan Nair was suspended for ridiculing the AG’s claim that it had been unfairly treated and denied a hearing in my father’s appeal to the Privy Council over his disbarment by CJ Wee Chong Jin. As everyone who reads my blog knows, the Privy Council ruled that JBJ’s conviction was a grievous injustice but were unable to reverse it because of a technicality (deliberately engineered by the AG to prevent an appeal). They were only able to restore him to the rolls of advocates and solicitors. The AG’s response was to advise the Government that they could avoid their moral duty to overturn the conviction and also to make a mendacious claim that the AG had been prevented from arguing its case. Gopalan Nair had rightly attacked the AG for its fake claims and castigated the decision not to overturn JBJ’s unjust conviction for a non-existent offence. By using the suspension of Gopalan Nair as a precedent for imposing the maximum five year suspension on M.Ravi Menon continues to uphold the PAP Government’s false narrative that the conviction was sound and that they were the real victims not JBJ. By doing son Menon shows himself unfit to be CJ and should be removed. I am sure my father, were he still alive today, would be disgusted as well by his son Philip’s decision to accept a Supreme Court seat and thus make himself complicit in a lie.

Handing out draconian and unjust penalties to destroy the livelihoods of those who speak truth to power has always been the PAP’s stock in trade and M. Ravi’s suspension shows that there has been no change. If anything the situation has got worse since the 1980s. Shengwu Li pointed out in his recent interview with the US National Public Radio, and I have pointed out even earlier, that the UK in 2013 abolished the offence of scandalising the judiciary. By contrast, Singapore has gone the other way and introduced harsher penalties under the Administration of Justice Act 2016. This was used to prosecute Shengwu, merely for a private post on Facebook, and Jolovan Wham among others. The fact that the PAP are prepared to go to such lengths to try to stop accusations that the judiciary are not independent is the best demonstration that such statements are true. I stand by my contention that both the AG and the judiciary are subject to executive interference and invite the AG to charge me with scandalising the judiciary. However I am confident that they will not do so as I would be prepared to defend my claims vigorously and show that, far from being a paragon of rule of law, all institutions, including the judiciary and the AG, answer to the whims of one man.


  1. Whether a person is the CJ or not, there is no guarantee that he/she is capable of rational thinking, on all issues or on all occasions.

    Whether CJ Menon is concerned, I have my doubts of his capability for good reasoning.


    • To Richard

      Learned persons have rational thinking, people who read day in and day out on cases and who socialise on the ground nows the meaning of rational thinking.

      If every or most of the lawyers criticise the AG or the bench, there wouldn’t be such situations of only targeting ravi.

      Even the CJ himself have declared that the standard of lawyers and lawyering have dropped. If he had observe the attitudes of police behaviours in m.ravi case, or in recent cases of police officers getting into trouble with law or in any other separate or isolated matters, CJ would have commented as such ” standard policing have dropped in singapore”

      To me the CJ menon and CJ Chan have good rational thinking and have shown they respect the principle of precedence.

      No much of lawyers came forward for the death penalty issue, but ravi went on bearing heavy stones in his hip and kidneys. He almost gave up if not for the help of like minded individuals and pressure groups.


  2. Dear Secretary General Kenneth Jeyaretnam

    1. The AG in recent years have slacked many a times, if you were to compare the vivo city st James pub murder case of a Indian men by 5 malay men, we will see that charges were reduced and almost escaped the gallows, and the recent orchard towers murder case where a Catholic Indian was attacked with a banned kerambit knife by a group of Chinese oriented people, the charges of the Chinese men and women were dropped. They faced lesser charges and were punished with lighter sentences. In relation to these case where lives were taken away by dangerous weapons, m.ravi on the other had tried to save lives who were caught in the Web of vicious drug laws, and for harmless words which are naturally uttered during and after court hearings, he is now facing the most harshest of suspension from his law career.

    2. We sincerely pray that Cheif Justice of Singapore will set precendece for free speech to natural critics based on reasons for them to criticise the institutions of law. Chief Justice must also realise that M.RAVI’s phone, lap top, passport were all confiscated during his trying times in saving lives who were caught for the harshest of drug laws. These actions by the AG and police, must be recorded at the Cheif Justice desk and Cheif Justice in the next institutional meet up with the Law Minister must address such behaviours from the AG and Police.

    3. Many decades back when Mr Chiam See Tong won his defamation suit against a Minister called Danabalan,the court ruled in favour of chiam see Tong, because chiam see Tong ” spoked together with someone” whereas when MP for ANSON and NCMP for Cheng San Counsel JB Jeyaretnam were sued and tried for various defamation and party accounts related cases, a judgement by District Judge Michael Khoo judgement was in favour of jeyaretnam, the prosecution appealed to high court and won the case favouring the appellants (AG). Two similar cases each with different judgements, setting no precedence.

    4. And another case where a sarawak nationals got a lighter sentence for murdering a Indian national consyruction worker at kallang Airport, the prosecution didn’t appeal to the higher court and a live was taken away and sarawak national stayed alive for pre mediated murder.

    5. We seek the CJ to look into such public feedback as not words of critics but words which define the real meaning of precedence and justice.

    6. Kenneth must form a team in Jalan besar GRC and consider standing in Machpherson and Mount batten SMC.

    7. Kenneth blog must be well read by Singaporeansfrom all walks of lives and teenagers must translate the ideas and case comparisons in the language of the older readers.


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