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迈克巴评 不容置疑?新加坡的司法体系

22/12/08

作者: Michael D Barr 新加坡文献馆译

萧添寿的这第三本书对新加坡司法制度体系提出了强烈与无情的批判。他提供了令人信服的证据显示新加坡的法律审理系统是李光耀的玩物,李把玩这件玩物随兴的摧毁他的敌人;在这一个过程中败坏了司法,法律专业,警察和新闻专业。萧添寿的这个个案研究完全来自一个他熟知内情的单一司法案件 – 令人不容置疑的展示了新加坡在内在上是一个腐败的独裁专制,和其他第三世界有所不同的是在其国民所得上和在技俩上精明操弄制度的本事。

这个有力的指控或许会更为有效,倘若萧添寿能够在使用文字上更为谨慎,不去使用嘲讽和说教式的文字言词。这种任性放纵的文字风格充斥在书内尤其是在其前面部分。我预见这一后果是可以让新加坡制度和李光耀的辩护者把这本书贬斥为‘不过是另一个反新加坡的叫嚷’。萧添寿本人所体现的这种傲慢心态是完美的学自他目前所批判的制度体系(在1980年代他是李光耀所选拔的副总检察长),假如读者能够把这一瑕疵丢弃,是可以从书中看到震撼人心的操弄伎俩与里外不一的欺骗性行为,李光耀如何使用司法程序和法律去摧毁一个无罪的人,他的妻子和他的辩护律师。

这案件的个中人物是邓亮洪。他鲁莽的责问了有关调查的程序,事因李光耀和一些社会名人(包括他的儿子李显龙)从发展商那里收受百万元的回扣;而这调查的判定是接受回扣行为并没有什么不妥。书的大部分是讲述有关邓亮洪如何掉入李光耀反扑报复的政治与公关运作机制之内,但在这篇书评之内,只须要点出一些显著的事实即足以体现出这本书的意义。

比如,我们要怎样去认定这一个司法体系;它只给于被告几个小时的时间(从字义上了解)去委任一名辩护律师,寻找一名翻译员(因为这名被告她不会说英文),以便准备和提呈辩证给法庭,而她对这种司法程序却完完全全的不了解?或者,承审案件的法官本人也是该产业交易中接受回扣的其中一人,而他也曾经在涉案者(李光耀)的家族经营的律师所工作过?或者,一名法官(不是同一人)面对好多份的文件档案,每份档案有几百页之厚,而且文件复印恶劣以及页码混乱,字迹模糊的难辨认,以至于严重的影响了文件的可读性,然而,法官却可以在2个半小时之后就根据这批资料的法律内涵做出了法庭判决?或者,出庭面控的传票是由控方律师签发而不是由法庭去签发,但是法庭却确认与批准了这张传票?或者,当证据明确的证明了被告是无辜的,然而,法庭不仅没有接受这类证据反而还下令把有关证据从文件记录中完全删除?

萧添寿基本上是从法庭的呈堂文件中收集证据,他有一套完整的资料(包括那些过后被令删除的文件),都是来自流亡海外的邓亮洪。书后的三分之一内容是收录了部分的重要呈堂文件,其中好些是有力的证据,包括来自李光耀和他的同伙们的供词,其中有他们自我指控的不利言词。(萧添寿乐于使用李光耀的言词来反控他本人的反复无常与双面性的里外不一。在某一个论点上萧添寿更是利用了李光耀的供词来做为证据以证实李光耀是这一审讯程序的主要操纵者。萧添寿过于使用这种辩证技巧,但是李光耀的傲慢与专横用词的本身也使自已成为笑柄。)

这是一本有影响力的著述,但理应还有更大的发展空间。

Pacific Affairs
Fall 2008: Vol 81, Number 3
ProQuest Asian Business and Reference pg. 494

BEYOND SUSPICION? The Singapore Judiciary By Francis T. Seow
Review by Dr Michael D Barr
Flinders University, Australia

FRANCIS Seow’s third book is a savage and unmerciful critique of Singapore’s judicial system. He provides convincing evidence that the Singapore court system is basically the play-thing of former Prime Minister (currently Minister Mentor) Lee Kuan Yew, through which he toys with and destroys his enemies at his leisure; corrupting the Bench, the legal profession, the police and the profession of journalism on the way through. The case presented by Seow – which is overwhelming drawn from the intimate detail of a single legal battle – demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt that Singapore is at heart a corrupt dictatorship separated from Third World dictatorships primarily by its national income and the cleverness of the techniques by which it manipulates institutional power.

It is a damning indictment that could have been much more powerful if Seow had resisted the temptation to indulge in childish name calling and heavy-handed didacticism. These acts of self-indulgence dominate the first part of the book and are never far away in the rest. Their main impact, as far as I can see, is to give defenders of the Singapore system and of Lee Kuan Yew the excuse they need to dismiss the book as ‘just another anti-Singapore rant’. Seow’s arrogant style was probably perfected while he was part of the system he is now critiquing (having been Lee’s choice for the position of Solicitor-General in the 1980s), but if the reader can put these defects aside it will become clear that this is a deeply disturbing story of manipulative and duplicitous behaviour on the part of Lee Kuan Yew as he set out to use a quiescent judicial and legal fraternity to destroy an innocent man, along with his wife and his lawyer.

The man in question is Tang Liang Hong who had the temerity to question the procedure by which Lee Kuan Yew and other notables (including his son and the current prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong), were cleared of any suggestion of impropriety when they accepted million dollar discounts from a property developer. Much of the book is concerned with the political and public relations machinations by which Tang was caught up in Lee’s web of retaliation, but in this review it must be sufficient to relay just a few of the most salient facts to give the reader a sense of the book.

For instance, what are we to make of a legal system that gives a defendant a couple of hours (literally) to find a solicitor, a translator (since she could speak no English), and prepare and present a defence in court to a procedure about which she had literally no understanding? Or where a judge sits in judgement on a case where he himself is implicated as a recipient of one of the real estate discounts that started the whole procedure, and who had previously worked for the family law firm of the primary litigant (Lee Kuan Yew)? Or where a judge (not the same judge) can receive many sets of documents, each hundreds of pages thick and so badly copied and paginated as to substantially illegible and unreadable, and yet two and a half hours later bring down a legal judgement based on his considered legal interpretation of the implications of their contents? Or where a summons to chambers is issued by an appellant’s lawyers rather than by the court, but the court upholds it? Or where evidence that proves beyond all reasonable doubt the innocence of the defendant is not only refused admission in court, but all record of its existence is expunged from the record?

Seow has drawn primarily on court documents for his evidence, having been supplied with a complete set (included documents later expunged from the record) by Tang Liang Hong, who is now a de facto exile from Singapore. Fully the last third of the volume is occupied by transcriptions of some of the most damning court documents, including a fair sample of documents where Lee Kuan Yew and his allies condemn themselves by their own words. (Seow delights in using Lee’s own words to demonstrate his capriciousness and duplicity. At one point he was even able to cite Lee as his primary source to sustain his charge that Lee was the arch-manipulator of the proceedings. Seow tends to overplay his hand when using this technique, but Lee’s arrogance and peremptory choice of words do rather lend themselves to ridicule.)

This is a powerful book, but it could have been much more.

Dr Barr :
Lecturer in International Relations, School of Political and International Studies, Flinders University
School Director of Studies (B.A)
School Ethics Research Adviser
Deputy Chair, Faculty of Social Sciences Undergraduate Standing Committee.

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分类题材: 书评_books , 政治_politics

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