AsiaSingaporePolice probes lawyer in prominent drug trafficking case for legal practice with...

Police probes lawyer in prominent drug trafficking case for legal practice with expired certificate

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The Police said on Wednesday (May 11) that they were investigating a woman for being an unauthorised person acting as an advocate or solicitor. The Straits Times (ST) identified the lawyer as Ms Violet Netto who earlier this year represented Malaysian drug trafficker Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam in an appeal against his death sentence. He was hanged on April 27.

The Police said that on 27 April 2022, a police report was lodged against the woman and that she had purportedly acted as an advocate and solicitor on at least three occasions, even though her practising certificate had expired.

Police said they acted on the report and commenced investigations against the woman for an offence under Section 33 of the Legal Profession Act. The offence of an unauthorised person acting as an advocate or solicitor under Section 33 of the Legal Profession Act carries a fine of up to $25,000 or an imprisonment term of up to 6 months, or both.

In the case of second or subsequent convictions, the offence carries a fine of up to $50,000, an imprisonment term of up to 12 months, or both.

The Police said that they are unable to comment further as investigations are ongoing.

Ms Netto represented Nagaenthran in his appeal against a High Court decision that dismissed his application to commence judicial review proceedings on the basis that he purportedly possesses the mental age of someone below 18. He had also mounted a criminal motion to be assessed by an independent panel of psychiatrists, with a stay of execution until it is completed.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the Malaysian drug trafficker’s bid against death sentence, and rebuked the lawyers for ‘abuse of process’

Delivering the verdict on behalf of a five-judge panel, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon dismissed Nagaenthran’s case as “baseless and without merit, both as a matter of fact and of law”.

“In our judgment, these proceedings constitute a blatant and egregious abuse of the court’s processes,” said the Court of Appeal.

“They have been conducted with the seeming aim of unjustifiably delaying the carrying into effect of the sentence imposed on the appellant.”

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On 27 April, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) flagged possible contempt of court proceedings against some of the people involved in a failed last-ditch plea for the life of Nagaenthran.

In a statement the AGC said that individuals and groups both here and abroad have “repeated false allegations” that Nagaenthran’s mother had put forward about Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon. These false statements could amount to contempt of court and if so, AGC would “take appropriate action to protect the administration of justice”, the public prosecutor’s office added.

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