Straits Times. Home Section. June 25, 2005.
Debate in court over accused's access to lawyer.
A recent brutal murder case has rattled the island. In case you're not aware, a 22 yr old lady from China, is found dismembered - body severed into 2, upper and lower torso wrapped in plastic bag, head severed, feet still missing. The suspect, her supervisor at work, is arrested while investigation is still undergoing.
The case is definitely gruesome and disturbing. The suspect, in almost every certainty at this point, looks to be the most likely killer in this case. However, no matter how the case at hand is going to unfold from this point, the suspect is still unconvicted, and dare I say, innocent until proven otherwise. That's why he's named, a suspect. He's in custody, and arrested based on suspicion. He is not yet convicted.
What boggles me is why the question of him having access to his lawyer is even mentioned. Why should he not be given access to the lawyer, and most intriguingly, the block was done by the DPP (Deputy Public Prosecution) and even more surprising, upheld by the Distric Judge.
The DPP's reason for the block was that the police had to expend much time and resources to locate and verify parts of her body. DPP Koh told the courts yesterday "the scope of an order of investigation necessarily excludes any external meetings or conversations". Honestly, I do not understand what the hell that means nor does it seems like it made any justification for blocking an accused access to his lawyers.
The Judge said that the court has a duty to balance the rights of the accused and the obligations of the police. Why would the rights of the accused to have access to his counsel be in danger to or jeopardize the obligations and the investigative work of the police? Makes no sense to me, and if anyone who is a lawyer could help enlighten me, I'd truly appreciate.
District Judge also says "I am also aware of the view that the interests of the accused will not be compromised by the lack of access to the counsel at this stage". This puzzles me even more. His rights as an unconvicted accused to a lawyer is being compromised, and why wouldn't his interests be?