Aim towards a world-class justice system

I was surprised and ashamed to find out that our justice system does not provide early access to legal counsel for suspects, especially vulnerable ones ("Vulnerable suspects and their access to counsel"; last Saturday).

What is disturbing is that a number of police precincts do not give suspects the Pamphlet of Rights, and that some investigating officers have not even heard of it.

We have always sought to be No. 1 in many areas.

How can we claim to have a world-class justice system when we cannot even exercise common sense when handling investigations involving vulnerable suspects?

To be sure, there are no legal requirements or guidelines. But should we always aim for compliance? Should we not try to go above and beyond the provisions?

I am glad the police have promised to review their investigation process, especially with regard to vulnerable suspects such as minors ("Police to review the way youth are questioned"; Feb 2). Perhaps the Law Minister could also weigh in, to ensure that the review will be taken more seriously and with a sense of urgency.

Peter Chan Teng Hong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2016, with the headline 'Aim towards a world-class justice system'. Print Edition | Subscribe