Ministry takes issue with book by Subhas

The late Mr Anandan dictated the chapters of It’s Easy To Cry while undergoing kidney dialysis treatment last year.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The Law Ministry has said that certain accounts given in a new book released posthumously by top criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan differ "quite substantially" from those of the legal and government officials he was writing about.

Mr Anandan, who died in January aged 67, dictated the chapters of It's Easy To Cry while undergoing kidney dialysis treatment last year.

Three in particular stand out for his opinions about Singapore's chief justices, attorneys-general and judges. Among other things, he questions the move to prosecute two high-profile civil servants for corruption and suggests they could have been dealt with by internal disciplinary process rather than "mud slinging in Court". One was acquitted and the other, convicted.

In a separate high-profile case, he noted that "most people" thought a law professor who was charged and then acquitted over accepting gratification from a student should have been sacked or deported "at worst".

He also recalls various encounters he had with legal officials.

When contacted, a Law Ministry spokesman told The Straits Times: "The late Mr Anandan has... set out his version of conversations and interactions he has had with several serving officers in the judiciary, the Legal Service and the Government.

" The recollections of many of the officers differ, sometimes quite substantially, from the accounts that Mr Anandan has set out, about these conversations and interactions.

"The officers, however, have decided, out of respect to Mr Anandan's memory, that it is not appropriate to set out their corrections to Mr Anandan's account. For the same reason, it would not be appropriate to respond to Mr Anandan's criticisms of these persons."

The book's contents relate largely to his early life, his family and close friends, and it is peppered with his recollections of the criminal cases that he handled.

He also speaks up for defendants who "plead guilty for noble reasons" and "willingly accept blame because they do not want a loved one to get into trouble".

He cites the case of a teacher charged with amending some of her pupils' answers in the PSLE in 2007 and another woman who pleaded guilty to abetting her son in setting cars on fire - to protect her son from being implicated in a more serious charge that could have seen him sent to jail. In both cases, he fought to get probation for the women but had to settle with two months' imprisonment for each.

The book, published by Marshall Cavendish, is due to hit bookstores on Friday and is priced at $29.90 before GST.

"I have said what I wanted to say without hesitation," he writes in its conclusion. "I am not going to be very popular with some people. I have to accept the consequences when I have been candid."

This article was first published on September 30, 2015.
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