Public interest cases before apex court

Public interest cases before apex court
Cases being brought back to court
James Raj Arokiasamy, accused of hacking into the Ang Mo Kio Town Council’s website, is being driven away after a court appearance on 15 November 2013. He was also suspected of creating the video threatening a wave of cyber attacks to protest against licensing rules for news websites and signing off as The Messiah.

SINGAPORE - In A rare occurrence, the apex Court of Appeal will this week hear several high-profile cases of public interest back to back.

It is understood that the cases raise questions of law where the decisions can have far-reaching effects. The cases include those of a lawyer convicted of commercial underage sex, an alleged computer hacker, and a blogger facing the prospect of court contempt charges.

Lawyers say the court's rulings on the applications made could affect the cases involved.

"The court may order the case to be re-heard by the lower court where the original judgment was made in the light of its findings, if applicable, and which may alter its previous decision," said senior criminal lawyer Peter Fernando.

Convicted lawyer Spencer Gwee, 60, has three issues for the Court of Appeal to settle in relation to his offence of engaging in commercial sex with a minor. He was given four months' jail and his appeal was dismissed by the High Court last year.

His lawyer, Senior Counsel Chelva Retnam Rajah, is seeking the court's ruling on questions including those related to procedural safeguards in photographic identification and the standard of proof expected in an appeal.

Separately, alleged hacker James Raj Arokiasamy seeks the court's ruling on whether a person remanded for investigations has an immediate right to see a lawyer on request.

His lawyer M. Ravi is in turn seeking the court's guidance on what amounts to a "reasonable time" within which the right of access to a lawyer can be exercised.

James Raj, 35, who was charged with hacking into the Ang Mo Kio Town Council's website last year and signing off as The Messiah, is currently in remand while investigations are ongoing.

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