SINGAPORE – Veteran criminal lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam, 47, was fined $4,000 in a district court on Tuesday (Aug 30) for breaching a gag order, an offence under the State Courts Act.
A second charge under the same Act was considered during sentencing.
The lawyer, who has his own practice, had asked his associate Johannes Hadi, 32, to distribute transcripts to the press that were likely to lead to the identification of a woman who had accused a doctor of molestation.
Thuraisingam committed the offence in August last year.
The two lawyers were part of a team that had represented Dr Yeo Sow Nam, then 52.
All details that could lead to the identity of Dr Yeo’s accuser cannot be revealed due to a gag order, as she could be a victim of a sexual crime.
After a trial, Dr Yeo was given a discharge amounting to an acquittal in August last year. This means he cannot be charged again with the same offences.
Both Thuraisingam and Hadi were handed charges under the State Courts Act in April. Hadi’s case is pending.
Thuraisingam was represented in court by lawyer Jerrie Tan from Gates Straits Law.
In mitigation on Tuesday, Ms Tan said her client has been a practising lawyer for around 21 years and a large part of his legal practice involves defending poor accused persons facing the death penalty.
She told the court that he does this on a pro bono basis and has obtained acquittals in a number of cases.
Ms Tan added: “In 2016, Mr Thuraisingam received the Legal Assistance Scheme for Capital Offences award from the Honourable Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon for his work in defending accused persons in capital cases.
“In 2021, the Singapore Law Society Pro Bono Ambassador award was presented to him.”
In the molestation case, Dr Yeo had been accused of molesting a woman on the 12th storey of Mount Elizabeth Hospital on the evening of Oct 9, 2017.