Lets make one thing clear: the Law Society of Singapore is facing widespread criticism (at least online) for the action of its representative and it is no one else’s fault but the Law Society’s.
It is thus rather shocking that the Law Society’s second statement has basically laid the blame on its representative, one Mr Wong Siew Hong. And it has laid it squarely and conclusively.
Mr Wong had “decided to go to Court on his own volition with Dr Fones’ information,” the Law Society’s second statement, released to the media on Tuesday evening, said. If that first claim isn’t very clear, the Law Society reiterated it: “Mr Wong had acted very much on his own.”
And, audaciously, the Law Society admonished its critics: “Unsubstantiated criticism of LSS is unfair to its volunteers, and does the public a grave disservice,” it said. ” LSS asks that commentators check their facts, preferably with LSS, before making their comments.”
Yes, the Law Society speaks of facts, the same Law Society which, in the very same statement, also said: “Council was not in possession of the full facts. As a result, the statement issued in the evening of 16th July 2012 contained the error that LSS had initiated the intervention in the court proceedings.”
Yes, Law Society, you have egg on your face – and again it is through your own doing, no one else’s.
What is appallingly absent in the Law Society’s two statements thus far is the complete lack or even a hint of remorse, or of an apology – to the public (for the “wrong” statement on 16 July), and to the courts (for allowing one of its own to, in effect, run wild in the courts – not once but 3 times!).
Now, having distanced itself from the two lawyers from Law Society involved in the fiasco – Mr Wong and the secretariat rep – the Law Society says Mr Wong had acted “with the best of intentions.” I guess people in Law Society can read the hearts and minds of its members.
In any case, if what the Law Society says is true, still it begs this question:
If indeed Mr Wong had “acted on his own volition”, and the secretariat rep had visited the courts “at his own initiative”, then does this mean both men had misrepresented themselves to the courts – that they were in fact not representing the Law Society?
When Justice Pillai and Justice Quentin Loh allowed Mr Wong into chambers to hear him out, did Mr Wong make it clear that he was not representing the Law Society? Or did he say he was in fact representing the Law Society?
Did Mr Wong introduce himself as “Mr Wong, chairman of the sub committee of the Law Society” which he in fact, was.
And if indeed Mr Wong did do so, will the Law Society take disciplinary action against him for misrepresentation and for acting without the authority of the Society?
And wouldn’t Mr Wong’s actions also be in contempt of court?
The Law Society cannot simply hope that its statement – which have utterly confused and thrown up even more questions – is enough and hope that this whole thing will simply go away.
As the Society itself said, “LSS believes that it is important that the public has confidence in LSS as an independent professional body which has always balanced the interests of the public and individual lawyers.”
If Law Society truly believes in what it says, then it has the responsibility to clarify things and take the necessary action against its lawyers.
“But…sheesh! What kind of outfit is the LawSoc running when one of its own can go running to the courts armed with a letter to the LawSoc? Was the “representative” Wong Siew Hong really so silly as not to even keep any of the LawSoc bosses informed that he was going to do so? Surely, there are procedures in place in the LawSoc before any lawyer can go running to the courts or come up with a statement on behalf of the LawSoc? So, I say Mr Wong Meng Meng: Go shoot your own messenger.”
And where is the apology to the public and the courts?