05 Oct 2020

Oral Reply to Parliamentary Questions on the High Court's Judgement in Parti Liyani v Public Prosecutor, by Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment

Questions:


Mr Murali Pillai:
To ask the Minister for Home Affairs following the judgment of the High Court in Parti Liyani v PP [2020] SGHC 187, what steps will be taken by the different agencies to identify why the issues identified in the judgment occurred and how these issues will be addressed in future.


Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs in respect of the High Court judgment in Parti Liyani v Public Prosecutor, what are the agencies' findings on what is assessed to have gone wrong and what will be done to address the findings.


Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs over the last five years (a) what percentage of cases of theft as an employee has a foreign domestic worker been the accused; (b) what proportion of the above has (i) been charged in court (ii) proceeded to trial (iii) been convicted and (iv) been acquitted respectively; and (c) what proportion of each subgroup above has had legal representation.


Mr Vikram Nair: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether there are any updates on its internal reviews of what happened in Ms Parti Liyani's case, and in particular the police's handling of the matter.


Mr Vikram Nair: To ask the Minister for Law whether there are any updates on the Ministry's internal reviews of what happened in Ms Parti Liyani's case and in particular the handling of the matter by the Attorney-General's Chambers.


Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether he will appoint a committee of inquiry consisting of members not affiliated to the Government to conduct a public inquiry into the conduct of the Singapore Police Force and Attorney-General's Chambers with regard to Ms Parti Liyani's case.


Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether the Ministry will consider allowing foreign domestic workers and other work permit holders to be accompanied by non-legal personnel in police interviews, similar to the Appropriate Adult Scheme.


Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs what has gone wrong in the chain of events related to the case of Ms Parti Liyani and what are the findings and outcomes of the review.


Mr Leong Mun Wai: To ask the Minister for Law in light of the Parti Liyani case (a) whether an expedited trial process can be created for economically vulnerable foreign accused persons; (b) whether the honorarium for volunteer lawyers under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme can be increased to signify their contributions; (c) whether an Office of Public Defender can be created to provide legal assistance to accused persons in Singapore; and (d) whether there are any steps being taken to strengthen the interpreter service in the Singapore Police Force.


Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim: To ask the Minister for Law whether the Government will consider providing direct legal aid to vulnerable persons or those with lesser financial means who are charged with criminal offences, in light of concerns raised about access to justice and adequate legal representation for such persons, following the case of Parti Liyani v PP [2020] SGHC 187.


Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for Law how many State Court judges have previously worked as prosecutors in the Attorney-General's Chambers and whether the Ministry will review the policy of separation of duties.


Mr Derrick Goh: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs what are the root causes that led to the procedural lapses on the part of the police in Parti Liyani v PP [2020] SGHC 187 and whether there are sufficient procedural safeguards and supervisory review and oversight of police investigations.


Mr Derrick Goh: To ask the Minister for Law with regard to the case of Parti Liyani v PP [2020] SGHC 187 where gaps in the prosecution's case have been noted, what are the procedures and supervisory oversight in place at the Attorney-General's Chambers in the assessment of evidence throughout the process of prosecution.


Mr Derrick Goh: To ask the Minister for Law in the last three years (a) what is the number of court cases involving employers and their foreign domestic workers (FDWs); (b) what is the number of cases wherein the employer has been convicted; and (c) what is the number of cases wherein the FDW has been convicted.


Ms Carrie Tan: To ask the Minister for Law whether there can be a public defender scheme for vulnerable persons provided by the state for non-death penalty criminal cases.


Answer:


1.          Mr Speaker, Sir, may I seek your permission to take questions no. 4 to 11, on behalf of the Minister for Home Affairs, and questions no. 12 to 16, on behalf of the Minister for Law, together?


2.          The agencies have considered the High Court judgment, and are conducting reviews. These reviews are still in progress.


3.          As indicated by the Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, a Ministerial Statement will be made to address the questions raised by Members, after the reviews are completed. This is expected to be done at the November sitting.

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