'Access to counsel' issue already settled

'Access to counsel' issue already settled

SINGAPORE - Alleged hacker James Raj Arokiasamy has failed in his bid to seek a ruling from Singapore's highest court on whether a person held in remand has the right to a lawyer immediately when he asks for one.

Dismissing his application yesterday, the three-judge Court of Appeal led by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said the issue had already been decided in a 1994 case.

"This is settled law and we do not see that there is any controversy," said the Chief Justice.

James Raj is accused of hacking into the Ang Mo Kio Town Council's website on Oct 28 last year and signing off as "The Messiah". He is also facing charges of drug consumption.

The 35-year-old filed a High Court application for immediate access to lawyer M. Ravi after he was charged on Nov 12 last year and remanded for two weeks at the Institute of Mental Health.

At the High Court hearing on Nov 15, Mr Ravi argued that a person remanded for investigations has an immediate right to counsel when he asks for it.

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