Sunday, August 15, 2010
President has no discretion in clemency appeal (Full report)
“I therefore hold that the President has no discretion under the Constitution, and specifically under Article 22P, to grant pardons,” High Court Judge Steven Chong said. “The power to do so rests solely with the Cabinet.”
Justice Chong handed down the ruling on lawyer M Ravi’s application for a judicial review of the President’s powers in granting clemency on Friday.
Mr Ravi had applied for a judicial review to ascertain where the powers to grant clemency lie. Specifically he asked the courts to decide on certain remarks by the then-Attorney General, Mr Walter Woon, made in March 2010, and comments by Law Minister K Shanmugam, made in April this year.
Mr Woon had said, during the appeal of death row inmate Yong Vui Kong : “Although in theory it is the President who exercises the prerogative of mercy, in fact it is the Cabinet that makes the decision”.
The Law Minister’s remarks - “Yong Vui Kong is young. But if we say ‘we let you go’, what is the signal we are sending?” – made in April, before Yong’s submission of his appeal to the President, had prejudiced and compromised Yong’s constitutional right to an appeal for clemency, Mr Ravi argued.
Read more at The Online Citizen.
at 4:56 AM