Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Prominent lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam, associate charged with breaching gag order in doctor acquittal case

SINGAPORE — Prominent criminal lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam and his associate were charged on Friday (April 22) over a case that they had defended, which led to the acquittal of a doctor from molestation charges last year.

Prominent lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam, associate charged with breaching gag order in doctor acquittal case

Eugene Thuraisingam in a file photo taken in November 2019 outside the Supreme Court.

  • Eugene Thuraisingam and his associate are charged for breaching an order by the State Courts
  • The duo allegedly distributed transcripts that could reveal the identity of a complainant, who was protected by a gag order
  • The lawyers were defending a doctor who was later acquitted of molestation charges
  • Thuraisingam and the Attorney-General's Chambers had locked horns after the case over his alleged conduct

SINGAPORE — Prominent criminal lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam and his associate were charged on Friday (April 22) over a case that they had defended, which led to the acquittal of a doctor from molestation charges last year.

Thuraisingam, 46, and Johannes Hadi, 31, each face two charges under the State Courts Act.

Thuraisingam, who heads the eponymous law firm where Hadi is an associate, is accused of acting in contravention of an order made under the Act on Feb 7, 2020 in the case of Public Prosecutor v Yeo Sow Nam.

The order specifies that no person shall publish, among other things, any thing likely to lead to the identification of the complainant in the proceedings.

Thuraisingam allegedly instructed Hadi to distribute transcripts of Dr Yeo’s trial that were not redacted — where information is removed before being released to the public or members of the press — and it contained information that was likely to lead to the complainant’s identification.

Hadi is said to have distributed the transcripts on March 16 and Aug 11 last year.

On Friday, a police prosecutor said that the police are ready to proceed with the cases against both men. They will return for a pre-trial conference on May 20.

Those convicted of breaching a State Courts order can be fined up to S$5,000 or jailed for up to 12 months, or punished with both.

On Aug 16 last year, Dr Yeo was cleared of four criminal charges of molesting a woman almost four years ago. A judge had granted the prosecution’s application to withdraw the charges midway through his trial, before the defence — led by Thuraisingam — could begin its case.

The identity of the complainant who lodged the allegations against Dr Yeo remains under a gag order.

She had accused the anaesthetist, who runs a private clinic at Mount Elizabeth Hospital on Orchard Road, of inappropriately touching her four times in the hospital on the evening of Oct 9, 2017.

The allegations, which have been dismissed, included Dr Yeo wrapping his hand around her shoulder, pulling her towards him and kissing the side of her head on two occasions; hugging her and “quickly gripping” her breasts over her arms from behind her; and squeezing her waist over her clothes with his hand.

The media and public were not allowed to attend the hearing when the complainant testified, but Dr Yeo’s lawyers successfully applied for court transcripts to be released under the principle of open justice.

The prosecution objected to this, but the court ruled in the defence’s favour.

Following the acquittal, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and Thuraisingam locked horns.

AGC said that it would not be taking action against the complainant, because the inconsistencies in her evidence did not relate to the substance of her allegations.

AGC also said that a public statement issued by Thuraisingam and the defence team, where they claimed that the woman had admitted to lying in court about “material elements” of her allegations against the doctor, was "misleading and regrettable”.

Thuraisingam’s firm denied that its statements about the woman were misleading.

The lawyer later posted several responses on his Facebook account, where he detailed five instances of the woman lying in relation to her recollection of what had happened.

AGC then repeated its call for Thuraisingam to “explain his conduct”.

Separately, in 2017, Thuraisingam was fined S$6,000 for contempt of court after posting a poem on his Facebook page about the death sentence of his former client.

Related topics

court Eugene Thuraisingam gag order lawyer AGC molest doctor

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa