Contempt of court to be clarified

Dear Mr Chief Justice,

I refer to your comments as reported by Straits Times on 10 Jan 2010.

You said that the penalties for contempt of court will be spelt out very clearly. But what about the due process in establishing contempt of court? You said that contempt of court involves the undermining of the confidence of the judiciary in the eyes of the public. As such, the only valid determinant of the supposed contempt lies with public opinion. That being the case, contempt of court cannot be established without a reasonable sampling of the Singapore population on a random basis using a reasonably large sample size to determine if indeed contempt of court has undermined public confidence. That due diligence in establishing contempt of court has to be spelt out clearly too. But nowhere can this be found in the report by the Straits Times.

It is not enough to spell out the penalties. More importantly, the people has to be convinced that a fair, robust process is in place that clearly establishes the undermining of the court in the eyes of the public. Your authority to interpret laws on behalf of Singaporeans doesn’t give you the right to represent our opinions.

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