AGC rebuts lawyer M. Ravi's claims that prosecutors were 'overzealous' in prosecuting death-row inmate

The Court of Appeal reversed a 2018 decision to convict Malaysian Gobi Avedian on a capital charge.
The Court of Appeal reversed a 2018 decision to convict Malaysian Gobi Avedian on a capital charge.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) has rebutted claims made by lawyer M. Ravi that prosecutors were "overzealous" in their prosecution of former death-row inmate Gobi Avedian.

Gobi, 32, escaped the gallows on Monday (Oct 19) when Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, together with  Judges of Appeal Andrew Phang, Judith Prakash, Tay Yong Kwang and Steven Chong, reviewed and overturned an earlier decision by the Court of Appeal.

He was instead sentenced to 15 years' jail and 10 strokes of the cane, with the sentence backdated to the date of his remand.

During the course of the video interview uploaded to The Online Citizen's Facebook page on Monday morning, Mr Ravi alleged that the Public Prosecutor was "overzealous" in the prosecution of Gobi.

He also said that there had been a "miscarriage of justice" in Gobi's case.

"The state and the prosecution has been overzealous in its prosecution and that has led to Gobi's death sentence," Mr Ravi said, adding that the "state, prosecution and the Minister of Law should apologise to Gobi".

He further suggested that "the application process and the statutory mechanism" put in place for the Court of Appeal to review such previous decisions was "oppressive".

The AGC rebutted the lawyer's claims, saying that Mr Ravi was insinuating that the initial conviction of Gobi was wrong at the time it was decided, and that the Public Prosecutor had acted improperly.

"Any such insinuation is categorically false. The Court of Appeal in the decision issued today explicitly pointed out that its initial decision to convict the applicant was 'correct at the time (it was ) made' and that none of the arguments considered in the decision delivered today 'could have been made in view of the legal position as it was understood then'," said the AGC in a statement.

"It is unfortunate that Mr Ravi has sought to mischaracterise the reasons for the decision issued by the Court of Appeal today."

The AGC responded as well to Mr Ravi's suggestion that the application process for review by the Court of Appeal was oppressive.

"Contrary to Mr Ravi's baseless assertion, as the Court of Appeal affirmed, such statutory framework 'is a reflection of the robustness of our legal framework that the Court may in limited circumstances take into account subsequent changes in the legal position to reassess previously made decisions'," the AGC said.