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Iswaran makes second bid to get prosecution to disclose witness statements

Former Transport Minister S Iswaran, facing criminal charges for alleged acceptance of gifts, appeared at the High Court on Friday to seek the prosecution’s disclosure of all witness statements intended for trial. Led by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, Iswaran’s legal team made a second attempt at a criminal revision, having previously failed in a closed June hearing.

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SINGAPORE: Former Singaporean Transport Minister S. Iswaran, facing criminal charges for alleged acceptance of gifts, appeared at the High Court on Friday (5 July) to seek the prosecution’s disclosure of all witness statements intended for trial.

Led by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, Iswaran’s legal team made a second attempt at a criminal revision, having previously failed in a closed June hearing.

Deputy Attorney-General Tai Wei Shyong, leading the prosecution team, strongly objected, citing inconsistencies in the defence’s stance, as reported by Singapore state media CNA.

Iswaran, 62, faces 35 charges, including 32 counts of accepting valuables as a public servant, two counts of corruption, and one count of obstructing justice.

These charges stem from his interactions with property tycoon Ong Beng Seng and Lum Kok Seng, managing director of Lum Chang Holdings.

Singh and his team argued for consolidating all charges into one trial rather than separate proceedings.

They previously asserted that Iswaran considered Ong and Lum as close friends and were unaware that the gifts constituted “veiled gratification.”

Iswaran, maintaining his plea of not guilty since being formally charged in January, has consistently sought a trial.

Singh spent hours pressing Justice Vincent Hoong to order the prosecution to disclose all witness statements under Section 214(1)(d) of the Criminal Procedure Code, emphasizing the defence’s need to prepare adequately based on available evidence.

“The whole point of pre-trial discovery is to respond in a fashion so that your honour knows what are the issues in the case,” Singh argued.

“And then your honour can then decide in what circumstances you would draw an adverse inference or not do so. But you can’t even do that, if they don’t give us the statements. ”

“In other words, they can on their own avoid an adverse inference, and avoid my ability to object to their evidence,” said Mr Singh.

Mr Singh also raised concerns over the prosecution’s handling of the case, alleging procedural irregularities that could prejudice Iswaran’s defence.

“Why is the prosecution doing this?” he asked.

“Why is my client being singled out? And with the effect that he would be discriminated against, by him being refused what everybody else gets?”

Mr Singh alleged that this issue did not “come up in a vacuum.”

He explained that Iswaran was initially charged with offences involving Mr Ong.

However, when both parties were discussing timelines, the prosecution “decided to change the sequence of prosecution,” delaying Mr Ong’s case and starting with Mr Lum’s case instead.

Responding on behalf of the prosecution team, Senior Counsel Tai rebutted Singh’s claims, accusing him of misrepresenting the prosecution’s statements during his two-hour submission.

“This is unfair. I do not accept more than half of what he’s said. He’s been paraphrasing or totally mischaracterizing what we said,” stated Mr  Tai.

Iswaran resigned from his government positions two days before he was first charged in court, having previously been placed on a leave of absence pending the investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

If convicted of obtaining a valuable thing as a public servant, Iswaran can be jailed for up to two years, fined, or both.

If convicted of corruptly obtaining gratification under the Prevention of Corruption Act, he can be jailed for up to seven years, fined up to S$100,000, or both.

If convicted of obstructing justice, he can be jailed for up to seven years, fined, or both.

Mr Iswaran is scheduled for his third Criminal Case Disclosure Conference on 9 July, following which a trial date will be set.

In 2021, the High Court dismissed TOC editor’s bid for disclosure of Police statements in defamation trial

In March 2021, The Online Citizen (TOC) editor Terry Xu and contributor Daniel De Costa failed to obtain their recorded police statements for their ongoing criminal defamation trial.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon dismissed their applications for procedural and jurisdictional reasons, agreeing with the prosecution that the applications were “procedurally defective” and constituted non-appealable interlocutory appeals.

The Chief Justice noted that the statements were part of “unused material” that the prosecution might need to disclose but concluded that the obligation was not triggered since the statements were not shown to assist the defence or weaken the prosecution’s case.

Mr Xu and De Costa had taken their case to the High Court after two district judges dismissed their initial applications.

They faced trial over an email letter by De Costa that allegedly defamed Cabinet members, which was published by TOC.

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For he knows very well …
His bosses and cronies will never ever let him down.

The man’s probably experiencing, for the first time, … and oso being at the receiving end of objective obstacles and opacity, to his face !!!

Who rightly said ” sg ‘s judiciary is pliant”?

The Keppel Bribery CPIB investigations outcomes is a template. Do NOT LOOK any further. This is also HOW SG achieves Smart Nation status when Bribery inconclusiveness is ONE COMPONENT to make Up Smart Nation.

The GLARING CONTRAST – how they Go After, PIN DOWN, and HAMMER Opposition Politicians HAS to REMIND SG the various FORMS of corruption in SG – some are permitted, some TOTALLY forbidden. Depends on who is AG, who and how the Judiciary works for.

Judiciary and AG is labelled, branded ‘PAP’.

Their brand name is NOT Singapore emblazoned.

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Clearly some “players” are being protected in a cover-up..

AG & Judges Both Don’t Know: Who is Watching This Show:
GOD HIMSELF
Good Luck.

Cannot disclose becos ??? Too many kakin lang will surface out and be drag into the saga like why did they give the gifts in the first place?!?

Stumbling others?!?
Promoting their biz empires
Getting assurance package?!?

Only this involved can answer?!? No?!?

Looks like Darth Vader Singh is snaking his way to asking for a fine.

Who is the prosecuting party in this case? The SGov /PAP..?
This is one hellavu wayang case.

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