Righting an injustice Part Three: Getting to know Mr. Mervyn Cheong

mervyn interviewIn September 2013, a student team from the Innocence Project (Singapore) took on the case of Abdul[1], who had been sentenced to imprisonment and caning for unlawful consumption of drugs. The team’s efforts played an integral role in overturning Abdul’s conviction and subsequent discharge amounting to acquittal.

None of this would be possible without the help of the Pro Bono lawyer who took up the case and ultimately worked with the Prosecutors to secure an acquittal. Today we talk with Mr Mervyn Cheong, from Eugene Thuraisingam, to find out more about him, his pro bono experiences and working with the Innocence Project (Singapore).

Today’s article marks the last of this three part series. For more updates from us, please hit the follow button located at the bottom right corner of your screen. We are also delighted to reveal that this case will be covered on a Channel 5 TV series called Verdict, which will be broadcast on 20 Jan 2015 at 10.30pm.  Continue reading

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Righting an injustice Part Two: The team shares their thoughts

In September 2013, a student team from the Innocence Project (Singapore) took on the case of Abdul, who had been sentenced to imprisonment and caning for unlawful consumption of drugs. The team’s efforts played an integral role in overturning Abdul’s conviction and subsequent discharge amounting to acquittal.

Every application that the Innocence Project (Singapore) receives is handled by one of our student teams, which conducts a comprehensive investigation including applicant interviews, on-the-ground investigation and legal research. Today, the Investigation team in charge of Abdul’s case, comprising Victor Leong, Ryan Nicholas Hong, Will Jude Vimal Raj and Allison Tan, shares their journey with Innocence Project (Singapore). Continue reading

Righting an injustice: Innocence Project (Singapore)’s first successful case

justified square imageIn September 2013, a student team from the Innocence Project (Singapore) took on the case of Abdul [1], who had been sentenced to imprisonment and caning for unlawful consumption of drugs. The team’s efforts played an integral role in overturning Abdul’s conviction and subsequent discharge amounting to acquittal.

The Innocence Project (Singapore) is a student-led initiative that seeks to provide recourse to individuals who believe they have been wrongfully convicted of crimes. It is a collaborative effort between the National University of Singapore Criminal Justice Club, The Law Society of Singapore and the Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore. Members of the Innocence Project (Singapore) review and investigate claims of wrongful convictions, which include conducting interviews with applicants and witnesses, and seeking out evidence to corroborate the testimonies obtained.

In this 3-part special article, we take a look at what happened, and talk to the Innocence Project (Singapore) team behind the investigation as well as the Pro Bono lawyer who took up the case. Continue reading

Plea Bargaining in Singapore: Reaping the Pros & Mitigating the Pitfalls

By Yeoh Jean Ann, Alastair Simon Chetty, Jolin Chen and Toh Ming Min.

Introduction

Lady Justice

Image Credit: Ben Sutherland. Header: Emmanuel Huybrechts. Both licensed under CC BY 3.0 US

In his speech at the Criminal Law Conference 2014, Minister for Law, Mr. K. Shanmugam, stated that his ministry is working on formalising a framework of negotiations between Prosecution and Defence to encourage early case resolution. Mr. Shanmugam described this as ‘plea bargaining’ in plain language, and highlighted the benefits of formalising such a system: transparency in the pre-trial litigation process, better-informed accused persons, and the optimisation of resources.[1]

In anticipation of this formalised framework, this article will examine the rationale behind plea bargaining in criminal justice systems, and its role in Singapore’s legal context. It will also explore the merits and demerits of the American plea bargaining system, discuss the inherent plea bargaining element in the current Singaporean system, and finally, analyse how this vision of a formalised system can work to balance striving towards judicial efficiency with the all-important notions of fairness and justice. Continue reading

The Injustice of Rehabilitation

By Charis Wong, Jaryl Lim Zhi Wei, Mok Ho Fai and Valerie Lew Jia Min.

At the recent Criminal Law Conference 2014, Law Minister K. Shanmugam laid out four fundamental principles that anchor Singapore’s criminal justice system, key among them being that “offenders must be given the opportunity to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society”. The swath of legislative changes in recent years, in particular, the wider range of sentencing options available today, places a greater emphasis on meaningful reform to the individual rather than being merely punitive in nature. Continue reading

An interview with former Supreme Court Judge, Mr Kan Ting Chiu

Mr Kan Ting Chiu

Mr Kan Ting Chiu. Image credit: Supreme Court Singapore Annual Report 2011

By Vincent Ho, Teo Ho Hong, Hoang Linh Trang and Stacey Lopez

Innocence Project Members Hoang Linh Trang and Johnson Teo had the opportunity to interview former judge of the Supreme Court of Singapore, Mr Kan Ting Chiu.

Continue reading

Amending the Charge: Case Study of Public Prosecutor v Shaik Alaudeen

By Elena Tan, Ernest Wong, Loh Tian Kai and Wong Ee Ming

In the landmark case of Public Prosecutor v. Shaik Alaudeen,1 Justice Choo Han Teck had to grapple with the limits of the High Court’s exercise of its revisionary powers in amending a charge after the accused has been convicted on that charge. Read More

Dealing with Obsolete Forensic Methods

By Jeremy Goh, Reynard Chua and Ng Yeeting

Santae Tribble, 52, was convicted for the murder of a Southeast Washington taxi driver in 1978.  The killer was witnessed to be wearing a stocking. A piece of hair was subsequently recovered from a stocking found near the crime scene. A FBI examiner found that piece of hair microscopically matched Tribble’s. Read More