THE TEMASEK TIMES

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Judge should explain verdict in Woffles Wu’s case to public and not AGC or Law Minister

Posted by temasektimes on June 19, 2012

The Woffles Wu case was controversial not only in the incredibly light sentence meted out on the accused for asking his employee to take the rap for his speeding offence, but the way the establishment has handed the matter which appears  to have aggravated public discontent instead of soothing it.

Over the weekend, the Law Minister stepped forward to defend the verdict by insisting that it is the ‘norm’ for a fine to be imposed followed by a media statement issued by the Attorney-General Chambers to explain why Woffles was not jailed like many others before him which is unprecedented in the history of Singapore.

Why are the Law Minister and Attorney-General speaking up for Woffles Wu when the verdict was delivered by the judge?

The separation of powers is an important pillar in many First World countries in which the legislative arm of the government is separated from its executive arm to prevent political interference in matters of public interest.

The Attorney-General Chambers represents the Singapore government and decides who to prosecute while the judiciary is supposedly independent and kept separate from any political influence or pressure.

Under this principle, the AGC decides to charge Woffles Wu in court for the offence and it is up to the judge to decide on the verdict based on the facts presented.

How can the AGC explain the verdict on behalf of the judge when it is not supposed to have anything to do with the judiciary?

It is befuddling that the AGC appeared to defend the light sentence meted out on Woffles instead of appealing against it like it has done so before in other cases when it felt the sentence given was inappropriate.

The onus is now on the judge to explain his decision to impose only a fine on Woffles Wu and not the usual jail term to convince an increasingly skeptical public that the verdict was fair and just for the law must not only be fair, it must also be perceived to be fair.

In this instance, public perception remains that Woffles was somehow spared a jail term because of his status, wealth and profession in spite of the clarifications issued by both the Law Minister and the AGC.

Being a public servant, the presiding judge has a duty to account to the public why he decided to fine Woffles Wu to promote public confidence and trust in Singapore’s much vaunted legal system.

As PAP MP and lawyer Hri Kumar Nair put it succinctly:

“I do not know what the Judge took into account in making his decision, and I accept that no two cases are the same. However, I hope there will be an opportunity for the court to explain its reasons and how other cases where jail terms were imposed were distinguished. That will promote transparency and confidence in our legal system, and deal with allegations of unfair treatment, which have already appeared on the net.”

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Related articles:

AGC: No evidence to suggest that Woffles Wu paid his employee to take rap for him

AGC: Woffles Wu was fined only because there was no major accident or injury in his case

Law Minister defends Woffes Wu’s lenient sentence

PAP MP Hri Kumar surprised by $1000 fine imposed on Woffles Wu

Salesman jailed for asking others to take rap for traffic offence, plastic surgeon let off with only a fine

25 Responses to “Judge should explain verdict in Woffles Wu’s case to public and not AGC or Law Minister”

  1. Well said. AAC should be appealing the light sentence. A surgeon with a high profile in Singapore society should be held to a higher standard .

  2. Attorney Genral Chambers instead.

  3. edwin said

    the law minister and the AG have unwittingly opened a can of worms. what you have already spit out, you cannot swallow.

  4. Ray said

    who is keen on betting that Hri Kumar Nair will be kicked out of the party soon?

  5. CKMPD said

    Two explanations required:

    1. AGC must explain why WW was not charged for a more serious offence
    2. Judge must explain rationale of his sentence

    The more urgent and important explanation is AGC’s.

    WW is not more equal than others

  6. spotlessleopard said

    Tin Pei Lin will say” I dont know what to say (whilst stomping her feet)….and Teo Chee Hian DPM will say “So What do you thin?” and GCT will say “Lets Move On” and another Senior Minsiter will say “Its an Honest Mistake” and yet another will say “It is once in 50 years occurance” and finally the most respected of all Ministers will say “singaporans are deft”

  7. AnyHowAlsoCan said

    How to explain the explainable? 越描越黑?

  8. Realist said

    When there is no adequate defense, AGC will quietly sweep everything under the carpet.
    This will be another incident for an updated edition of the banned book in Spore : “Once a jolly hangman….” by Alan Shadrake.

  9. ng p y said

    This is not only one case which is causing public discontent but this one case is the most controvertial. Why is it that the Minister is involved to explain the verdict meted by the Court and not he Court Itself. Now it seems the AG have to throw his weight to be in the case involved as if he is the ONE who is in the decision making and not JUDGES.
    COULD THIS CASE BE A VERY BAD MISCARRAIGE IN LAW IN THE DECISION MAKING OF THE SINGAPORE COURT

  10. Makando1973 said

    What do you think? Why Law Minister and AGC needed to come up with some alibi for WW? If they don’t, he may rearrange their faces and make them fuglier than him? Ha! Ha! Ha!

  11. solaris8899 said

    double standards?

  12. Ron said

    I presume there are lawyers in this forum. So please clarify:

    – Is it necessary for the Judge to respond to public concerns or even criticisms of his / her decision? It is a requirement by Law or Court procedure to have to publish the grounds for every judicial decision?

    – If it is, then are we not risking turning our Courts into a Public forum whereby loud criticisms mean having to put the Judge on the podium to explain his / her reasons? That would jeopardize the Judiciary.

    – If it not required to publish each and every judgement, then we can all voice our opinions and hope someone on high will listen and do something about it.

    Perhaps the Law Society can issue their opinion on a case such as this one where there is a lot of public concern. However, we much also make sure we do not create a kangeroo court mentality.

    • ilovesex said

      To all your queries no. What the authorities should have done is to enforce ISA on all Singapore matters and nothing like this shit will happen. Happy now?

    • toothless tiger said

      Dun think the law society will want to comment on this case eversince its francis seow incident in 1987.
      May be in future should get the jury back?

  13. 60+ said

    Next time you receive a summon, use someone name and if you are caught, as long no accident or injuries, don’t worry you will be fine only. The judge must have consulted the Minister for explaination…………….F

  14. WHAT THE HACK said

    越俎代庖,政府,司法,民事混為一談?三體制的獨立性在那裡?律政部長難道不明白這原理?還配做律政政部長嗎?

  15. Ray said

    No matter what the law says, if the layman thinks it is not fair and just, something needs to be done to correct it. History gives us so many examples of tyrannies and dictatorships where the law is twisted for unfair means or purposes. Is this the sort of examples we should allow in Singapore?

  16. stevenado said

    Something somehow somewhere someone must be making a BIG MISTAKE!!!!

  17. icefire said

    no evidence he bribe the guy ??? cos he pay large amount of tax to bribe the PAPaya … PAPaya is in the ruling party to protect the rich … 60.1 % agree to the PAPaya law system so dont complain the law is unfair … just blame urself for not voting wisely or blame urself for not been rich

  18. Kelvin Lawrence said

    When Seng Han Tong committed a racist remark he made on the SMRT’s driver race, the law minister came and defended him publicly. But when some students made racial remarks, they were charged in courts! So the message is clear.

  19. weak justice said

    the plastic surgeon in question knows too much info, don’t forget he services the elite, ministar’s wives, mistress, etc…he fixes their fugly faces and tits!!! he is also a socialite! all the society wives, mistress etc…do talk alot and thus he knows alot of info and thus they deem him as untouchable…pretty obvious isn’t it?

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