Lawyer Alfred Dodwell apologises for "misleading" allegations against Supreme Court

Defence lawyers Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss (front) and Alfred Dodwell (right) for Malaysian murder convict Kho Jabing leave the Supreme court on May 20, 2016.
Defence lawyers Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss (front) and Alfred Dodwell (right) for Malaysian murder convict Kho Jabing leave the Supreme court on May 20, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Lawyer Alfred Dodwell issued a written letter of apology to the Supreme Court on Monday (May 30) for "baseless" allegations he made against the court following the execution of convicted murderer Jabing Kho.

He did so after the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) pointed out to him that certain allegations he had made were in contempt of court and entirely untrue, an AGC spokesman said.

On May 21, the lawyer of boutique law firm Dodwell & Co LLC had written on his personal Facebook page: "If we invoke the supreme law of the land, the courts should not wave it away to hurry toward execution.

"It's a pity that we have the DPP (Deputy Public Prosecutor) saying so and the judges saying so."

He also wrote: "Same judge sitting on most of the hearing and a challenge to his own ruling is mounted and expecting a different result is never gonna happen."

The day before, Kho, a Malaysian, had been executed for bludgeoning construction worker Cao Ruyin with a tree branch while robbing him in 2008. Cao's skull was shattered and he died six days later.

Mr Dodwell was among the three lawyers who had launched multiple last-minute appeals in a bid to delay Kho's execution.

On the morning of the execution, the apex court had heard arguments from Mr Dodwell as well as lawyer Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss, who both filed a civil application against Kho's death sentence, which was a criminal matter.

When the lawyers sought an adjournment, saying that they were not prepared to argue, they were chided by the court, which then dismissed the applications.

Judge of Appeal Chao Hick Tin called the lawyers' actions "an abuse of the process of the court".

In his letter to Supreme Court Registrar Vincent Hoong on Monday, Mr Dodwell said he accepted that the allegations made in his Facebook post were "completely baseless and misleading, and in contempt of court".

He added: "I also accept that the allegations did not constitute fair criticism, and have scandalised the court."

He withdrew the allegations and apologised "unreservedly" to Judges of Appeal Chao Hick Tin and Andrew Phang Boon Long as well as the other judges of the Supreme Court.

The allegations made on his Facebook page, social media accounts, and all documents in his possession had also been deleted, he added.

The apology letter has been made public on his Facebook page.

"Contempt of court is a serious offence which undermines the administration of justice," the AGC spokesman said. "It is an even more serious transgression when it emanates from an officer of the court, a practising lawyer."