The Attorney-General is taking prominent lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam to court for contempt over remarks made on Facebook in May that allegedly scandalised the judiciary.
The High Court had earlier granted leave for the hearing to proceed next week in this rare case of contempt action against a lawyer.
Mr Thuraisingam, 41, had posted the offending remarks just after midnight on May 19 - the same day that convicted drug trafficker Muhammad Ridzuan Md Ali was executed at Changi Prison after having exhausted all avenues of appeal.
He subsequently took down the material from his Facebook page after being alerted by the Attorney- General's Chambers (AGC) and Law Society that it was in contempt of court. He also apologised unconditionally to the courts and public, and withdrew the statements unequivocally in remarks on Facebook.
At issue is whether portions of the May 19 posting risked undermining public confidence in the integrity of the Singapore courts and the administration of justice. The AGC's counsel is expected to argue in court that his conduct amounted to contempt, and seek the possible penalties at the hearing.
Mr Thuraisingam, to be represented by Senior Counsel Ang Cheng Hock at the hearing, said yesterday: "I made a mistake and I unconditionally apologised for and withdrew what I wrote. As I made a mistake and am in the wrong, I will accept responsibility for it in court and respect the outcome. I would like to put this behind me quickly and focus on fighting hard for my cases in court pro bono under the Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences (Lasco)."
Over the years, he has represented accused people facing the gallows under the scheme. Last year, he received the Lasco Award for his commitment and service to the scheme.
Earlier this week, the Court of Appeal ordered a review of its decision two years ago to convict Nigerian Ilechukwu Uchechukwu Chukwudi after he had been acquitted of bringing nearly 2kg of methamphetamine into Singapore. Mr Thuraisingam, who defended Ilechukwu, had filed a criminal motion to reopen the case by relying on a psychiatric report prepared by the prosecution for sentencing arguments.
The contempt case may be one of the last under the common law, based on precedents, before codified contempt laws under the Administration of Justice (Protection) Act passed by Parliament kick in. The Law Ministry said yesterday the Act will commence in the near future.