Retired Supreme Court judge dies of pneumonia at 85

Retired Supreme Court judge T S Sinnathuray died of pneumonia on Jan 19, 2016.
Retired Supreme Court judge T S Sinnathuray died of pneumonia on Jan 19, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

Justice Sinnathuray lauded over significant contributions to Singapore's legal landscape

Retired Supreme Court judge T. S. Sinnathuray, who presided over high-profile trials including the Adrian Lim and John Martin Scripps murder cases, died on Monday evening. He was 85.

Justice Sinnathuray, who had been suffering a heart condition and was on dialysis, died of pneumonia at Singapore General Hospital.

His daughter Shamona, 41, said yesterday that his family was with him when he died.

"He was a great dad - a loving and supportive father who always encouraged us to strive to do our best in all aspects of life. He was very positive and had the 'never give up' spirit," she said.


Justice Sinnathuray was appointed to the High Court in October 1978 and retired in 1997. ST FILE PHOTO

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said he was "deeply saddened" by the news, adding: "Justice Sinnathuray was a very popular judge who always treated counsel with great courtesy. He loved the law and the legal fraternity and made it a point to attend many of our functions and events for as long as he was able to.

LOVE OF LAW AND FRATERNITY

Justice Sinnathuray was a very popular Judge who always treated counsel with great courtesy. He loved the law and the legal fraternity and made it a point to attend many of our functions and events for as long as he was able to. Many of us on the Bench today remember him warmly as a good friend and colleague.

CHIEF JUSTICE SUNDARESH MENON

"Many of us on the Bench today remember him warmly as a good friend and colleague. We will miss him dearly."

Attorney-General V.K. Rajah lauded the "significant contributions" made by Justice Sinnathuray. "He will be warmly remembered by the legal community for his unfailing courtesy and his commonsensical approach towards resolving knotty legal issues."

QUALITY SERVICE

...he served with distinction until his retirement in 1997. We are saddened by his passing and he will be fondly remembered by many members of the legal profession.

LAW SOCIETY PRESIDENT THIO SHEN YI

Law Society president Thio Shen Yi pointed to his many achievements in rising to become a High Court judge in 1978, a position he "served with distinction until his retirement in 1997". "We are saddened by his passing and he will be fondly remembered by many members of the legal profession."

Singapore Cricket Club president Baldev Singh said: "We affectionately knew him as Sam. He broke new ground in becoming the first Asian president of the Singapore Cricket Club which was founded in 1852.

"He served from 1976 to 1978,was warmly endorsed and more than matched his predecessors in office. Sam was an affable man and a longstanding lunchtime figure at SCC and we will miss him. The SCC flag at the Padang will be set at half-mast as a token of respect till Friday."

Justice Sinnathuray studied at Raffles Institution after the war and went on to read law in London.

He was appointed to the High Court in October 1978 after serving as a district judge for 11 years.

Previously, he served three-year stints each as a magistrate, a deputy public prosecutor and as the Supreme Court registrar.

While he was in the Subordinate Courts from 1967 to 1978, he rose to the highest position of senior district judge before being made a High Court judge.

He heard some of the most notable cases of his era, including one of Singapore's most sensational murder trials in 1983 involving ritual killer Adrian Lim, who was convicted and hanged for killing two children in his Toa Payoh flat.

In 1995, Justice Sinnathuray presided over the trial of British serial killer John Martin Scripps, who was convicted and hanged for the murder of three tourists.

His wake will be held at Singapore Casket level 2, Diamond Room, in Lavender Street from 4pm today till Friday at 4pm when the cortege will leave for a private cremation at Mandai Crematorium.

He is survived by his 75-year-old wife, son Chandra, 45, and daughter Shamona and three grandchildren.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2016, with the headline 'Retired Supreme Court judge dies of pneumonia at 85'. Print Edition | Subscribe