Minister for Law and Home Affairs Mr K. Shanmugam said Singaporeans must have confidence in Singapore’s court and not pressurise judges to impose harsh or lenient sentences.
In a Facebook post on 20 December 2017, Mr Shanmugam shared that he was troubled how some people have responded to the sentencing of housewife, Tan Hui Zhen and her husband, Pua Hak Chuan for torturing intellectually disabled waitress, Ms Annie Ee.
Mr Shanmugam noted that an online petition calling for harsher penalties was filed and “aspersions were cast on the defence lawyers’ characters”.
“As a society, we have to try and avoid putting public pressure on judges to impose harsh/lenient sentences. We have a well-functioning court system. We must have the confidence that our judges will do the right thing,” he said.
Mr Shanmugam also reminded the public that every defendant has a right to engage a lawyer to defend him.
“We have to remember – someone known to anyone of us could be charged for any offence at any point in time. Rule of Law means that the person is entitled to have his lawyer put forward the strongest possible arguments in his favour. And he is entitled to have a Judge decide his guilt/ innocence and sentence, without the public, or anyone else influencing the outcome,” he added.
Mr Shanmugam noted that while the public can express their moral outrage, the Rule of Law should still be observed.
Image from: Minister Shanmugam’s Facebook