High Court reserves judgement on judicial review application

The courts have reserved judgement in the hearing on VK Judicial Review on the president’s powers of discretion in granting clemency. Judge says he will try and expedite the ruling.

High Court reserves judgement on judicial review application

Source : The Online Citizen

The Supreme Court reserved judgement Wednesday in a hearing on the pardon process for Malaysian death row convict Yong Vui Kong, who is asking for his execution to be stayed on the grounds that he had been denied a fair clemency process.

The 22-year-old – sentenced to death in 2007 for drug trafficking – was asking the High Court to grant a judicial review on his clemency process, which he claimed had been prejudiced by the actions of a Cabinet minister.

If the High Court finds in Yong’s favour, another hearing will be arranged – allowing the court to review his claims that his clemency process had been tainted.

In Wednesday’s hearing, which was closed to the public, Yong’s lawyer M Ravi presented arguments in an attempt to persuade Justice Steven Chong that his client has valid grounds to file for a judicial review.

Ravi told the judge that public comments made by Law Minister K Shanmugam and his ministry in May had prejudiced his client’s clemency plea even before it had been filed.

Yong was awaiting the outcome of his appeal which he made in March when Law Minister K Shanmugam spoke publicly on his case on May 9.

Shanmugam, responding to a question at a public dialogue session, had said that to pardon Yong would be “sending a signal to all drug barons out there” that they should choose as drug mules people who are “young or a mother of a young child”. ““Yong Vui Kong is young. But if we say ‘we let you go’, what is the signal we are sending?” the minister had said.

The Ministry of Law later issued a statement saying the minister had “reiterated the policy and philosophy behind the death penalty and why Singapore adopted a tough stance.”

The Court of Appeal subsequently quashed Yong’s appeal, announcing its judgement five days after the comments.

In his court submissions, Ravi cited as context the timing of the comments, the influence and importance of the Law Minister in the Cabinet, the lack of contrarian views from other Cabinet members, and the rebuffing of Yong’s earlier clemency plea.

Given these circumstances, he argued that it was “reasonable inference that [Shanmugam’s] remarks reflect the views of [the] Cabinet and that [the] Cabinet intends to reject [Yong’s] clemency petition even before it has been filed.”

This represents a “usurpation of the Elected President’s clemency powers” and “a de facto preemptive exercise by [the] Cabinet of the Elected President’s Constitutional prerogative,” he said in his submissions.

As such the “constitutional process for handling [Yong’s] clemency petition has been irreversibly tainted to the prejudice of [Yong],” he said.

Senior state counsel David Chong, responding for the Attorney General, argued that the High Court was not in a position to grant a judicial review to Yong.

The clemency process was not subject to judicial review, he said, citing two cases in Malaysia that provided precedent on the matter.

In those cases the Malaysian courts found that the clemency process was not reviewable, he said.

However, he conceded that there have been no similar cases in Singapore that could provide legal precedence.

In response, Ravi cited cases in England, India and South Africa in which judges ruled the clemency process to be reviewable by the judiciary. He also clarified the Malaysian cases raised by Chong, citing differences between them and his client’s case.

Chong also argued that under Article 22P of the Singapore Constitution, the President has no discretion in deciding the outcome of a plea for pardon.

In addition, Article 22K grants the President immunity from most types of legal proceedings, which therefore makes Yong’s case unreviewable, he said.

Ravi argued in response that if the Cabinet is the effective decision maker in the granting of pardon – as then-Attorney General Walter Woon had asserted in March – then the judiciary would have the authority to review Cabinet actions for bias.

The lack of such an authority would represent a breach of natural justice, he said.

It is unclear when the High Court would announce its ruling on the case, but Justice Chong said he would try to expedite the judgement, following a marathon six-and-a-half-hour-long hearing in chambers.

On a related note, the Malaysian government, The Online Citizen understands, has written to the Singapore government on the matter of granting clemency to Yong. On 5 July, the Malaysian Foreign Minister had promised to “do everything possible within our powers or diplomatic means” to seek clemency for Yong.

Yong’s family has also written to the president. (See The Star Online report.)

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新国高庭听审杨伟光司法检讨
择日裁决总统赦免权是否受侵

当今大马2010年7月28日晚上 8点33分

新加坡高庭今日听审死囚杨伟光司法检讨的申请,以决定新加坡总统公正考虑其赦免的权力是否受到侵犯。经过申辩双方长达一天的陈词后,法官决定保留裁决,择日再下判。

杨伟光的代表律师拉维(M Ravi)是於上周三入禀新加坡高庭,申请法庭检讨司法部长的言论是否已经损害总统在宪法下的宽赦权力。

他声称,申请宽赦的程序已出现未审先判的情况,因此希望法庭能够发禁令,阻止执行死刑。

“若放走会传达什么讯息?”

申请书中引述,司法部长山姆甘(K Shanmugam )5月9日评论杨伟光案的言论,以及司法部随后发表的声明,已经“严重造成宽赦程序出现明显的偏颇”。

当时山姆甘是出席一场社区活动,受一名出席者询问杨伟光案以及政府针对运毒罪案的立场,回答说,“杨伟光是年轻,但如果我们说放你走,我们到底是传达什么讯息?”

司法部7月9日的声明进一步重申,新加坡政府对杨伟光案和死刑的立场,强调“他被捕时也运入其他毒品包括氯胺酮,摇头丸,冰毒及五仔”。

总统宽赦权力已遭内阁篡夺

对此,拉维此前就发表声明反驳说,这些附加运毒罪名并不曾被带上庭证明,而司法部如此高调宣扬已经进一步损害宽赦程序。

拉维的申请书也争辩,宪法第22P条文下民选总统的权力已经在宽赦申请书提呈之前,遭到内阁的篡夺。

他引述当时总检察长温长明庭上的评论,即“总统在这事情上没有主权”。

杨伟光原本是去年12月行刑,但是拉维成功在行刑前4天申请暂缓令,以挑战死刑违宪。

新加坡网民号召星期天聚集

这也是杨伟光逃过死刑的最后两个机会之一,另外一个选项就是於今年8月26日之前提呈第二次宽赦申请。但是,拉维希望能够先尝试司法检讨的机会。

为了声援杨伟光,新加坡网民目前也号召星期天(8月1日)下午4点到新加坡演说角落聚集,届时他们将会收集签名、发表简短演说、拍摄参与者感言,以及拍摄团体照。

====================================

Other reports:

独立新闻在线 28/7/2010 : 新国审杨伟光司法复核案, 律师呼吁恢复总统赦免权

新国审杨伟光司法复核案, 律师呼吁恢复总统赦免权

【本刊记者撰述】新加坡高庭今早开庭审理死囚杨伟光的司法复核案,杨伟光律师拉维认为新加坡律政部长山姆甘(K. Shanmugam)及律政部发言导致杨伟光的特赦申请未提先决,是越权、违宪之举,要求高庭裁决恢复该国宪法赋予总统之权力,法官聆审之后表示将尽快择日下判。

拉维(M. Ravi,左图)是在7月21日向新加坡高庭提出司法复核,检讨该国律政部长(前译法律部长)山姆甘今年5月9日及总检察长今年3月5日的发言,认为此二人言论逾越宪法阐明之总统权力,因而剥夺杨伟光生存权利。总检察长为此司法复核的第一答辩人。

新加坡高庭法官今日聆审之后表明,就这起事关总统赦免权力之司法复核,他将尽快择日下判。

山姆甘是在今年5月9日公开表明:“杨伟光是年轻。但若我们说,‘我们让你走’,我们传达了什么讯息?”之后,其所代表之律政部又再于7月9日发出文告维护山姆甘言论,强调此乃为了“公共利益”。

而四月方卸任的总检察长温长明在3月5日上诉庭陈词时则说:“虽然理论上是总统行使其宽赦权,但事实上,做决定的是内阁。”

但拉维在其书面陈词中指出,根据《新加坡共和国宪法》第22P条文,“乃民选总统本人而非在其谘询者建议之下,决定是否批准原告的赦免请愿,在宪法22(2)条文之下,此乃总统拥有裁量权之事宜,总统乃依据宪法条文第22P及22(2)(i)行使其裁量权。”

因此,拉维认为温长明之言论根本就是先侵占宪法条文第22P赋予民选总统之权力,影响杨伟光申请赦免的公平与公正性。且此番言论乃违反《新加坡共和国宪法》。

总统赦免权不仅是橡皮章

拉维在书面陈词中强调,总统的赦免权乃是必须免惧于各种干扰,秉持良心,小心行使之权力,“这确实是一项决定权,而非仅是仪式性的橡皮章(同意权),且应包括可以做出与内阁建议不同之决定、裁量的权力。”

而且,律政部在其声明中不仅维护山姆甘之言论,甚至以未曾用来提控杨伟光(右图)之司法资料损害后者申请赦免的程序。

拉 维指出:“有鉴于他们发表声明的时间点、脉络、律政部在内阁的地位与影响力,以及在上诉庭判决前后,都未有任何其他内阁成员发表相反言论,从优先处理此前 曾提出的赦免申请之情况来看,合理推断这些言论代表内阁之意见,且内阁在原告还未提出赦免申请之前,就已有意拒绝之。”

因此,拉维要求新加坡高庭法官裁决,恢复总统在该国宪法第22P条文底下所拥有的权力。

破碎家庭的受害者

杨伟光是在2008年因运送47克海洛英到新加坡而遭警方逮捕。根据新加坡的毒品法令,只要任何人身上搜获15克海洛英就将面对强制死刑。法庭在去年1月宣判杨伟光死刑。

拉维表示,杨伟光遭逮捕时只有19岁,他是家境贫穷、受教育不高、破碎家庭的受害者,这些状况导致他走上贩毒的道路。【点击:死囚杨伟光律师来马求援  部长取消会面辩称不知情】

About givelife2ndchance

Give Life 2nd Chance is a movement dedicated to work on abolish death penalty in Malaysia.
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