Mr Gobi and Mr Datchinamurthy’s Singapore counsel M Ravi on Fri (14 Feb) said that his clients will be appealing against the High Court decision to the Court of Appeal.
Their appeals to the Court of Appeal is being scheduled to be heard in the week of 23rd Mar, and are being expedited, according to Mr M Ravi.
The lawyer said that the appeals focus on “the right of access to justice without any interference into lawyer’s representation”, which is “tantamount to the right of fair hearing being affected” as a result of “any threat to independent legal representation”.
“I had submitted in court that it stemmed from the Attorney General’s confirmation of the express reservation of the government’s rights against me personally.
“It was stated by the AGC that the government was keeping open a full range of possible options that it might avail itself in relation to my conduct in the case,” said Mr M Ravi, in reference to a statement made by Deputy Senior State Counsel Wong Woon Kwong at a pre-trial conference on 4 Feb.
“I had addressed the court that this is an implied threat and undermines the Law Society’s mission statement that calls for an independent, effective and competent legal profession which is fundamental to the upholding of the rule of law,” said Mr M Ravi.
Judge Thean on Fri in her judgement said that she “could not see any basis for concluding that Mr Ravi would have felt threatened in any way, or that it would have been reasonable for him to do so”, as Mr Wong “was merely communicating a position that should be familiar to all lawyers”.
Mr Wong’s statement, she added, “served as a salutary reminder to Mr Ravi that he should conduct himself appropriately and in accordance with the standards expected of all counsel as officers of the court”.
Mr M Ravi in a statement on Fri also revealed that Wong SC had applied to the court to “impose cost orders personally” against him. The hearing of this application is expected to be held in early March.
Families of Mr Gobi and Mr Datchinamurthy decided on bringing their case to the Court of Appeal “to know the honest, open, transparent answer for these death row inmates”: Pannir Selvam Pranthaman’s sister Angelia Pranthaman
The sister of another Malaysian death row prisoner in Singapore told TOC after the hearing on Thu that the families of Mr Gobi and Mr Datchinamurthy have decided to bring the case to the Court of Appeal as they “want to know the honest, open, transparent answer for these death row inmates”.
“This is dealing with life. This is important … This is not a joke. So we want to push it to the extent that we can to the Court of Appeal,” said Angelia Pranthaman, the younger sister of Pannir Selvam Pranthaman.
“We will not leave it [the case] here hanging – we will try our best until the end to get the justice that the death row inmates needed,” she stressed.
“This is dealing with life. This is important … This is not a joke. So we want to push it to the extent that we can to the Court of Appeal,” she said.
Mr Pannir, who was convicted of drug trafficking, was granted a stay of execution in May last year. However, a procedural application he made was dismissed by the High Court in Jul the same year.
Following that, the family of Mr Pannir — alongside the families of other Malaysian death row prisoners in Changi Prison, and activists from human rights organisations including Lawyers for Liberty and Amnesty International — submitted a memorandum to President Halimah Yacob in a bid to appeal for clemency for Mr Gobi and Mr Datchinamurthy.
The memorandum called upon Mdm Halimah and the Government of Singapore to reconsider the death penalty, particularly against drug mules “while the drug kingpins and traffickers are still at large”.
“We hope that you, Madam President, and the Government of Singapore would take a moment to reconsider the death penalty. It has proven not to be an effective deterrent and will not improve crime rates or trends in Singapore,” the memorandum read.
Touching on Mr M Ravi’s handling of his clients’ case, Ms Angelia said: “All this while, nobody came forward for these type of issues … He didn’t take a single cent from us families. He is voluntarily doing this.”
When asked on the families’ view regarding the allegations concerning the purported brutal execution method in Changi Prison, Ms Angelia said that the families believe that such executions might have taken place before, because “Singapore has never been transparent at all on what is happening [regarding judicial executions]”.
“Let’s say Singapore has previously mentioned that the number of executions is such and such … We might believe then that the rope-breaking never happened. But Singapore has never been transparent. So this leads to more doubt as to whether it has never happened,” she said.
Earlier on Wed (12 Feb), the High Court dismissed Mr Pannir’s challenge against the rejection of his clemency plea.
His lawyer Too Xing Ji told The Straits Times that Mr Pannir will be making an appeal against the High Court’s decision. Mr Pannir has also subsequently applied for leave to commence judicial review proceedings. – The Online Citizen, 14/2/2020