Thio Shen Yi – A rare breed

By: Chua Chin Leng

In a rare public display of criticism, outgoing Law Society President Thio Shen Yi said that his clash with Law Minister K Shanmugam over a case where police intimidation led to a suicide of a 14-year-old boy, was a  badge of honour….

“If Benjamin had a lawyer present to give advice during the course of the (police) interview, would things have turned out differently? We will never have certainty, but it is not impossible to imagine a different outcome, and if that is possible, then one more question: How then should we act?”

Law Minister K Shanmugam was enraged by the Law Society President’s comments and threatened that his comments may amount to Contempt of Court:

“His statements imply that Benjamin killed himself because of police intimidation. Where the police are wrong, we must and will take action. But we should not allow deliberate, dishonest attacks.”

The Law Minister also slammed online news site TheOnline Citizen for fabricating “deliberate falsehoods to tar the police”.

The government’s state coroner absolved the Singapore Police of all responsibilities over the boy’s suicide and even praised the police and school’s measures taken “commendable”….’

The above was posted in the statestimesreview. Now that the case is closed, would a discussion on the above statement be a contempt of court? How many of you agree with Thio Shen Yi’s comment that if Benjamin had a lawyer, the outcome would be different? How many of you think his statement amounted to contempt of court?

My view is standard. I always agree with the govt, especially the Law Minister. When he said contempt of court, be very mindful that he is right. But is does not mean that I agree with the govt or the law minister.

Anyway, I like this man, Thio Shen Yi. You don’t find such individuals in the little Red Dot any more, or rarely. I have written a post titled, ‘The silence of the intelligentsia’ and had posted it earlier. That might explain why I like Thio Shen Yi. I hope saying I like this man does not amount to contempt of court or any funny or contorted or distorted interpretations.

Such individuals are admirable in a city devoid of free thinking intelligentsia.


3 thoughts on “Thio Shen Yi – A rare breed

  1. Thio’s comment cannot be taken callously.

    If it then becomes a requirement to have a lawyer present during police requirement, imagine the social costs. Certainly Thio and members of the Law Society would like that of course. I think if a police interview is in aid of their investigation, eg checking out witnesses, then it’s just routine. If the interviewee is a minor, a parent should be present. But if its an interrogation of suspects, the interviewee should have a right to have a lawyer present. I’m just a PhD in TV’s Law and Order series.


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