SINGAPORE - A former police officer on death row for the 2013 Kovan double murder failed to convince the Court of Appeal on Monday (July 5) that his defence team should be investigated for misconduct.
Iskandar Rahmat, 42, had filed a complaint in 2018 against the six lawyers who defended him during his trial.
He alleged that they failed to give him a full set of crime scene photographs, failed to call his family members to testify that he was not a violent person, and failed to carry out his instructions, which were contained in handwritten notes.
On Monday, a three-judge apex court dismissed his arguments, saying that there was no merit to his appeal.
Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said written grounds for the court's decision will be issued in due course.
During the hearing, the Chief Justice told Iskandar's lawyer, Mr M. Ravi, that negligence may give rise to civil liability, but may not amount to professional misconduct.
Iskandar was facing imminent bankruptcy in 2013 when he hatched a plan to steal from a 67-year-old car workshop owner. He knew that the man kept a large sum of cash in a safe deposit box from a police report the older man had made.
On July 10 that year, Iskandar persuaded the victim to remove his money from the box so that a camera can be placed inside.
He then escorted the victim back to his Hillside Drive house in Kovan, where he stabbed and slashed the victim 27 times.
When the victim's 42-year-old son entered the house, Iskandar also stabbed the younger man.
Iskandar then dragged the younger man under his getaway car for nearly 1km, leaving a trail of blood as onlookers watched in shock.
In 2015, Iskandar was found guilty of two counts of murder after a trial.
He was represented by different counsel during his appeal in 2016 against his conviction and sentence, which was dismissed in 2017.
In 2018, he filed a complaint to the Law Society against his trial defence team.
A four-member inquiry committee, after speaking to Iskandar in prison and getting explanations from the lawyers, decided that no formal investigation was necessary.
In June 2019, Iskandar asked the High Court to order the Law Society to start the process for a disciplinary tribunal to be appointed to investigate his complaint.
The High Court found that formal investigations were not warranted and dismissed his application in October 2019.
Iskandar then filed an appeal against this decision.
The Law Society tried to strike out his appeal, but the apex court in January ruled that complainants who are pursuing disciplinary probes against lawyers have the right to appeal all the way to Singapore's highest court.