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8/26/2008

Not innocence after acquittal

Our legal system is built on the foundation that a man is innocence until proven guilty. Now we are hearing in Parliament that a person having been acquitted in court can still be presumed to be guilty or not innocence. On this ground, an acquitted person cannot claim compensation from the state. It is too high a burden on the state, but not too high on the acquitted accused. This issue was raised in Parliament to compensate people who were charged by the govt and acquitted in court. Shanmugam, the Law Minister, dismissed this and was reported over the news that Singaporeans would not agree to it. I don't know what Singaporean he was referring to? The Singaporeans he spoke to, the 66.6% or the 33.3%? I for sure will agree that acquitted Singaporeans should be compensated. Today, going to court is no masak masak. The charge must be serious enough and the accused must definitely want to fight for his innocence. And how much will it cost to prove his innocence? Many will be backrupted for life. It is thus important that wrongfully charged and acquitted Singaporeans must be compensated. If not, it will be another case of guilty for not being able to afford legal fees to defend. We all know how expensive fighting a legal battle here. And we have seen how the rich people threatened people in court and the poor buggers, though innocent, ended having to pay to get out of the legal tangle just to save some money. Engaging a legal counsel to fight for the truth would be too costly for many average Singaporeans. I think our system will be more just if people are not handicapped or disadvantaged by the exorbitant legal fees and ended up being wronged for money not enough. The other alternative is for the govt to provide a defence counsel and the fee be waived on acquittal. How else can the poor losers find justice when they got no money? After rejecting the provision of compensation, Shanmugam added that 'if one can prove that prosecution was "malicious or vexatious", there are provisions in our laws for compensation.' That will incur more legal fees to prove maliciousness or vexation. Who got that kind of money to pay for legal fees to get himself acquitted and then pay for more legal fees to prove such things to get compensated? If the charge was an honest mistake, just too bad. Singaporeans will just have to accept this system as it is.

3 comments:

Mockingbird said...

Once a sucky system, always a sucky system.

Anonymous said...

For more detailed discussions on these important topics, see:
Singapore Kopitiam
http://forums.delphiforums.com/sunkopitiam/messages/

redbean said...

thanks anonymous, for sharing it.