Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sense of Proportion? Sense Of Justice? Sense of Equality?

Anyone read , "Apex court clears air on A-G's power"? If not, please check this out [Link].

Extract from [Link]:

"IT IS not unlawful for the Attorney-General to artificially reduce the amount of drugs specified in a trafficker's charges, to differentiate from those of his accomplice.

Nor is it unconstitutional, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday, in dismissing the case of Ramalingam Ravinthran, who faces death for trafficking in cannabis.

His accomplice, Sundar Arujunan, escaped the same fate because he was charged with trafficking in a shade less than the quantity that brings the mandatory death penalty. He was sentenced to 20 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane.

Ramalingam, represented by lawyer M. Ravi, had accused the Attorney-General (A-G), as Public Prosecutor, of violating his constitutional right to equality before the law.

Even though they were involved in the same crime, he was prosecuted for capital offences whereas Sundar was accused of non-capital offences.

Ramalingam wanted his charges amended so there would be no difference in their punishment.

On July 13, 2006, the two men met at a temple in Sungei Kadut Avenue. Sundar placed a sports bag on the back seat of Ramalingam's car. Both were arrested separately shortly after by Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers. The bag was found to contain 5,560.1g of cannabis and 2,078.3g of cannabis mixture.

Sundar was charged in June 2007 with two offences of trafficking in not less than 499.99g of cannabis and 999.99g of cannabis mixture. Those quantities were about 0.01g below the mandatory death penalty threshold. He pleaded guilty.

When Ramalingam was dealt with later, the quantities of drugs in the charges against him meant the death penalty on conviction.

Sundar was called as a prosecution witness at Ramalingam's trial. Although he turned hostile on the stand, the trial judge convicted Ramalingam based on the men's statements to CNB officers.

Ramalingam's appeal against conviction and sentence was dismissed in September 2010. Although he had exhausted his avenues of appeal, he filed a motion in an attempt to reopen his case.

Yesterday, the Court of Appeal dismissed his motion in a 48-page written judgment delivered by Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong.

He said the court decided to hear out Ramalingam as the motion concerned a constitutional point that needed to be clarified in the public interest.

CJ Chan said the prosecutorial power vested in the A-G was constitutionally equal in status to the power of the court, and the courts were expected not to interfere with the A-G's prosecutorial discretion unless it had been exercised unlawfully.

In other words, the courts should presume that the A-G's prosecutorial decisions were constitutional or lawful until they are shown to be otherwise".

Having recommended this [Link] & [Link] to the Law Minister Jayakumar, I guess no one will be surprised by the latest judgement by CJ Chan.

Alan Shadrake's "Once A Jolly Hangman", Anybody?

And we
'pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society
based on justice and equality"?

Oops, 'Aspiration' doesn't mean squat!

Oops again, "two offences of trafficking in not less than 499.99g of cannabis and 999.99g of cannabis mixture" Pardon my English but shouldn't "less" be "more"?

While I'm still learning, it is sad that Ramalingam may end up like Vui Kong [Link].