Legal legend dies of heart failure at 67

BELIEVER OF FAIR REPRESENTATION: Mr Subhas, who defended some of the country's most notorious murderers, was a champion of pro bono work.In an interview last year, he said: "However heinous your offence is, I think you deserve a proper defence, especially in capital cases."

Criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan, who became a household name for standing up for those who had few else to turn to, died yesterday morning of heart failure. He was 67.

Leading the host of tributes was Law Minister K. Shanmugam, who said Mr Subhas' strong sense of justice made him a "legal legend".

"Described by many as a titan in criminal law, Subhas' name is synonymous with tenaciousness in court, a sharp intellect and, above all, a generous heart," added Mr Shanmugam, who called Mr Subhas a dear friend.

"His unswerving belief in fair representation for the accused, and granting them a second chance in life, makes him an inspiring role model for the rest of the Criminal Bar."

Mr Subhas took on more than 2,500 cases since being called to the Bar in 1971, and defended some of the country's most notorious murderers including Anthony Ler, who hired a teenager to kill his wife in 2001, and vegetable packer Took Leng How, who killed eight-year-old girl Huang Na, in 2004.

In a November interview with The Sunday Times, Mr Subhas said: "However heinous your offence is, I think you deserve a proper defence, especially in capital cases."

As president of the Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore, which he founded in 2004, he was a tireless champion of pro bono work. In recognition of his contributions, a fund to help former convicts further their studies was named after him in October.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said that Mr Subhas was a pillar of the legal community, honest and fearless in court.

Despite being diagnosed with heart and kidney failure at the turn of last year, the senior partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing returned to court in June.

He was undergoing dialysis at the Singapore General Hospital yesterday morning when his heart failed. He was later pronounced dead.

Family members, close friends and those in the legal fraternity attended his wake held at his family home yesterday evening.

Mr Subhas, who is a Hindu, will be cremated this evening at Mandai Crematorium.

He leaves behind his wife Vimala, 56, and son Sujesh, 24.

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