Exemplary conduct of civic minded citizens
The ST has a pretty good summary of the events leading to lawyer Wong Siew Hong turning up in court to make a representation to the judges while the courts were in session. For a lawyer representing the Law Society to do such a thing is unprecedented and he must have found the matter of grave importance to do it. This is an act that could get him charged for contempt of court. But he is a very brave man, acting without fear or favour, even at risk of offending the judge in a court session.
What happened was that two public spirited professionals, a consultant psychiatrist and a practicing lawyer representing the Law Society, who found something so serious that they must quickly act on it to prevent whatever they thought would happen that could be very bad. This kind of conviction and dedication to walk that extra mile, doing something beyond the call of duty, is truly commendable and the two deserved to be given a medal for civic consciousness, acting for the good of country and people. They acted on their own accord and professionalism, without consulting anyone as it was a weekend. It was like a tsunami approaching and any delay could be a life threatening situation.
On Sat, lawyer M Ravi was examined by psychiatrist Calvin Fones. On Sunday, the police received a report around 8am that someone was causing a disturbance at the Sri Mariamman Temple and the person was Ravi. It was also reported that Calvin Fones alerted Wong Siew Hong who was overseas. When and why he alerted Wong was not stated. Was it because of his examination of Ravi on Sat or was it because of the disturbance at the temple that he came to know about was not clear.
On Mon at 9am, Wong was back in Singapore and called Fones to prepare a letter. He also said he had alerted the Law Society Secretariat and was going to the High Court. There he informed State Counsel David Chong and Ravi that ‘he wishes to get the court to stand down and to inform the judge about the letter in chambers.’ Wong got the letter at 10.45am and entered the court room while hearing was in progress. Judge Pillai did not allow him interrupt the proceedings. After the hearing the two were called into the judge’s chamber and Wong presented the letter. He admitted that there was no precedence of such nature and the judge ruled that as long as Ravi still had a practicing certificate he could continue to represent his client.
Later, not sure what time, Wong went to another court to present his letter again. Justice Quentin Loh too ruled that Ravi could continue to represent his clients.
The event showed how persistent and dedicated was Wong in what he was doing which he must have viewed as of utmost urgency and importance to the good practices of law in the country. The Law Society has also made a statement that the ‘Society not involved in any conspiracy.’ The LSS also stated that Wong ‘decided to go to court “on his own volition” …”LSS is satisfied that although Mr Wong had acted very much on his own, he did so with the best of intentions.”
All the events that occurred only proved that there is a very civic minded lawyer acting on his own, thinking on his own with the diagnosis from a psychiatrist that something must be put right, to do something good. And no joke, the lawyer and psychiatrist were working through the weekend, and trying to rush a letter to court on Monday morning to make sure it got there on time. Such public spirited dedication must be appreciated and highly rewarded. National Day is just around the corner and a National Day Award is deserving as it is unusual for daft Sinkies to work so hard for free but for a good and just cause.