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Tenacious, Determined and Unflinching
Undergoing criminal investigations can be stressful, tiring and tedious. We understand the emotional turmoil that you undergo when asked to assist in investigations by the Police or other enforcement agencies. This is why we will handhold clients every step of the way, making representations on your behalf.
Should clients approach us after being charged, we will provide a thorough assessment of their case. We work closely with our clients to assist them in making the important decision of claiming trial or pleading guilty. We provide value to clients every step of the way to protect their rights and improve their legal position, regardless of their starting point.
Not just good criminal defence lawyers, but an outstanding team.
Don't just take our word for it. Read about Trident’s cases below to learn how we add value to our clients.
Two of our clients were charged with others for having committed murder at a local KTV club. When Thiru was engaged shortly after our clients were arrested, he acted quickly in meeting the clients in remand and obtained full accounts of what transpired. Thiru then made several scene visits to the KTV to procure evidence in support of our clients.
Because we rolled up our sleeves and acted quickly, Thiru managed to establish that an independent witness (a mamasan at the KTV) could support our clients' defence. Armed with that crucial corroborating evidence, Thiru managed to persuade the Prosecution to reduce the murder charges against our clients to charges of unlawful assembly. Thiru also successfully argued for both our clients to be placed on probation.
It is critical for clients to engage a good criminal lawyer as soon as possible. At Trident Law, we leverage on the advantage of early engagement with a quick yet thorough assessment of the situation and a comprehensive follow-up action to act in our clients' favour.
Our client, a general manager of a high-end KTV establishment, was charged with causing the death of a video jockey who worked in the same KTV. The case against our client was that he kicked the deceased out of a bus which was then travelling along the CTE.
The driver of the bus testified that our client had intentionally kicked the deceased out of the moving bus. Our client, who was heavily intoxicated at that time, had no clear recollection of what transpired. However, he was adamant that he had not kicked the deceased.
Having very little to work on, Thiru did a comprehensive study of the evidence tendered by the Prosecution and did several modelling of scene reconstructions based on the objective evidence.
The needle in the haystack was found when Thiru examined the shoes of the deceased. The pattern of scuff marks on the soles of the deceased's shoes appeared to Thiru to not be consistent with the Prosecution's case theory or the evidence provided by the bus driver. Thiru's assessment of the evidence was validated by 2 forensic experts from the United Kingdom who testified on our client's behalf.
At the trial, scene reconstruction and the scientific evidence were rigorously contested. Fortunately, our appreciation of the evidence and our ingenious game plan to prove our client's innocence resulted in our client's acquittal on the homicide charge.
Our client was a 35-year old Thai National who was charged together with her Singaporean boyfriend for conspiring to traffic in heroin. Our client was in possession of 62g of heroin when she was arrested at the condominium unit where she resided with her boyfriend.
This was a particularly difficult case as our client admitted to knowing that she was helping her boyfriend to pack drugs, collect drug orders, give instructions for their delivery to others, and kept accounts of drugs sold and monies received. Our client was presumed by the provisions of the Misuse of Drugs Acts to know the drugs involved were heroin.
In assessing the evidence and after detailed interviews with our client, Thiru argued at the trial that whilst our client knew that she was dealing in drugs, she never knew that it was heroin. Thiru further argued that our client was rendered blind and not wilfully blind as she trusted her boyfriend who had rescued her from the streets and with whom she had plans for marriage.
Following a trial in the High Court, our client was acquitted of the capital charge. The Prosecution subsequently withdrew its appeal against the acquittal.
"If it's there, it's there." – that was the careless response (in Malay) of Ismil Bin Kadar to a senior and experienced CID officer who was questioning him in connection with the brutal murder of an old lady. This response led to a chain of "confessions" being recorded from Ismil. All in, there were 13 "confessions" by Ismil to say that he murdered the deceased in her flat.
When we met with Ismil in remand, he not only denied killing the deceased, but denied ever going to the deceased's flat. Faced with insurmountable odds, every aspect of the case against Ismil was challenged in one of the longest trials in Singapore's history.
Undaunted and tenacious, Thiru dug through every shred of evidence. In the process of doing so, the failure of the police investigators to comply with established rules in recording statements, failure of the police investigators to properly conduct scene investigations and the failure of the Prosecution to disclose material information to the Defence were unearthed.
Ismil was convicted by the High Court and sentenced to death. He remained on Death Row for 2 years until his appeal was allowed by the Court of Appeal. The powerful judgment of the Court of Appeal has become a must-read for criminal practitioners. Ismil's case was also the first where the concept of "false confessions" was successfully applied.
Facing a charge of having in his possession 108.96 grams of methamphetamine (commonly known as "Ice"), our client was implicated for drug trafficking. Matters looked rather bleak as the law presumes that one is a drug trafficker if he or she has more than 35 grams of Ice in possession.
After long discussions with the client, our lawyer Kalidass realized that our client had been suffering serious mental health issues. His personal problems further drove our client to attempt suicide on a few occasions in the past. It was clear that our client obtained Ice for personal consumption in a bid to commit suicide.
To prove our client's defence of "possession" as opposed to "trafficking" in Ice, Kalidass obtained 5 medical reports which documented the client's mental health issues and his attempts at suicide by overdosing on drugs. This information was pivotal, and helped the client to be acquitted of the charge of drug trafficking.
Furthermore, Kalidass was commended by the trial Judge:
"Initially, the accused was not represented by a defence counsel. Subsequently, he was represented by a defence counsel, Mr Kalidass Murugaiyan. However, this was only after his defence was called, and after he had given his evidence-in-chief, but before he was crossed-examined by the prosecution. Mr Kalidass was also representing the accused pro bono. This court commended Mr Kalidass for this. Mr Kalidass had agreed to represent the accused at a very late stage of the trial. This was even more commendable."
Confessing to charges of bookmaking, our client appeared to be guilty. However, his main statement to the police was given at the ungodly hour of 4.00 am in the morning. Not only was he tired then, our client was also not in a right frame of mind when the statement was recorded. Furthermore, the client informed Kalidass that threats and promises were made to him then.
Kalidass suggested to the client that a senior forensic psychiatrist be engaged to testify in Court on the mental state of the client at the time of the recording of the 4:00am statement. The forensic psychiatrist, taking into account the threats, the lack of rest and the mental state of the client, testified that the client would have been more vulnerable to suggestions and threats at the time that the statement was being recorded.
Having considered the evidence, the Court ruled the 4:00am statement inadmissible. As the 4:00am statement was the key piece of evidence in the case, the Prosecution thereafter reduced the charge from bookmaking to a lower charge.
Thiru and Emmanuel Lee acted for an MNC. Trident Law provided legal assistance to their senior management who were investigated by both the CPIB and the CAD.
Following the provision of a comprehensive legal opinion on the legal position of each of our clients and our specific advice to our clients regarding their rights during the police interview and statement recording processes, our clients were eventually exonerated and cleared of all wrong doing.
Thiru was engaged to take over the appeal of a criminal case from another law firm. At the trial, whilst represented by our client's former lawyers, our client was convicted on all 5 charges that he faced in the High Court. A thorough review of the evidence allowed Thiru to persuade the Court of Appeal to overturn 3 of the 5 convictions against our client.
Thiru and Justin Tan took over this case from another law firm. Our client was charged with having commercial sex with a minor. Despite representations made by our client's previous lawyers, the Prosecution did not agree to withdraw the charge against our client. When we took over the matter, the case was about to go to trial.
Thiru and Justin Tan combed through the disclosed evidence. We challenged our client on his account. Arriving at the clear conclusion that there were more questions than answers in the Prosecution's position, we engaged the Prosecution on these very valid questions. Within months of taking over the case, the Prosecution dropped the charge against our client.
Thiru and Emmanuel Lee acted for our client who admitted to having had commercial sex with a minor. In situations as such, our key objective is to put across the best case possible to the Court for a fair sentence.
Praised by the Court for their mitigation, Thiru and Emmanuel Lee were able to persuade both the Prosecution and the Court to have our client placed on probation. Until our client's case, no accused person had been placed on probation for any such similar offence.
The client faced a term of imprisonment, a serious charge for molesting underaged teens. Truly remorseful, our client was firm in his resolve to change and to lead a crime-free life.
On our lawyer Kalidass' advice, our client agreed to reorganize his life to prevent recurrences. Voluntarily staying at a halfway house, he adhered strictly to the requirements in the home and was placed on supervised probation.
Commonly referred to as "5-5" cases, these cases involve persons detained without trial for alleged involvement in criminal activities. Through their extensive experience in providing such legal representation, Thiru and Emmanuel Lee have successfully argued before the Presidential Advisory Committee for our client to be released from detention.
Justin Tan acted for a client who was charged with involvement in the Little India Riots of December 2013. Aside from the overwhelming evidence, the case was aggravated by the immense and intense media attention. Moreover, the accused person was the first to plead guilty for the charge of rioting.
Being aware of the large number of persons charged with such offences, Justin Tan studied the evidence against our client thoroughly. Justin then advised him to plead guilty at the earliest opportunity to ensure the best prospects in sentencing.
Highlighting our client's lack of antecedents, background circumstances, and the significant fact that our client had worked in Singapore for 5 years without issue, Justin Tan secured a favourable sentence. This eventually became a benchmark sentence used in sentencing other accused persons involved in the Little India Riots of 2013.
From drink driving and negligent driving to reckless driving and fatal accidents, Trident Law has extensive experience with Road Traffic Offences.
Thiru and Emmanuel Lee were involved in a case of negligent driving where a fatal road accident resulted in the court imposing a reduced sentence of a fine on our client. This was achieved after a rigorous review of the available evidence, several scene visits, arguments before the Court on the poor environmental conditions at the time of the offence, and the contributory negligence of the deceased.
Thiru and Emmanuel Lee had also represented a client in a road traffic accident prosecution. In the case, our client drove against the flow of traffic and collided with a police vehicle. Once again, an extensive review of the available evidence including the layout of the road at the material time was conducted. Through this exercise, we managed to convince the Prosecution and the Court that a fine was appropriate and avoided jail time for our client.
Emmanuel Lee has also represented many clients who were involved in Unlicensed Money Lending (UML) activities. By highlighting the extenuating circumstances of each client and conducting a detailed assessment of the evidence of each case, he managed to convince the Prosecution to withdraw charges, issue warnings, and reduce the number of proceeded charges on many occasions.
On one particular occasion, Emmanuel Lee managed to convince the Prosecution and the Court that the imposition of a mandatory treatment order was appropriate for his client who had admitted to harassing several debtors.
The firm is also involved in a number of offences involving crimes against persons. They include rioting and assaults on public servants.
In each case, we took a holistic view of the facts and evidence. This included a frame-by-frame analysis of any CCTV footage and the circumstances of each accused person at the time of the alleged offence. By doing so, we made well-thought out and persuasive arguments to the Prosecution and the Courts and secured favourable and fair outcomes for our clients.
Among other things, we have successfully argued for issuance of stern warnings, the imposition of fines in lieu of custodial sentences, the imposition of community service orders and probation, and substantial reductions in the proceeded charges on behalf of our clients.
Notably, we have experience representing clients from all strata of society. Our clients include professionals, business owners, youths, the mentally ill, and the regular "man on the street".
Our client, a hardworking and self-made man worked up the academic ladder from polytechnic to eventually achieving an MBA. This took a wrong turn when he was introduced to drugs, then worked as a runner for drug-lords. He was 31 when arrested in 2007 for delivering drugs, and sentenced to 25 years’ jail and 24 strokes after pleading guilty. By 2015, our client had already served 8 years of imprisonment. This was when his appeal was filed.
There was little hope at first, as a substantial 8 years have passed since judgment, with previous appeals against his sentence dismissed. However, Thiru and Sangeetha persevered and managed to view the case from a new angle. Our appeal was eventually accepted by the Chief Justice for re-sentencing – a significant cut by 12 years of imprisonment. Our lawyers argued that although our client was aware that he was in possession of Class A drugs and helped to transport them in packs, he never knew or saw their contents. Thiru also emphasized that our client “already suffered 8 strokes, in excess of what he deserved through no fault of his own.”
The High Court Judge also noted that he found the appeal “fair and just in the circumstances” which Thiru and Sangeetha filed on behalf of our client.
Our client, a 71-year old taxi driver, was charged with causing the death of the wife of his ex-lawyer, whom he owed legal fees to. The case against our client was that he assaulted her on the head and subsequently started a fire on a table in the office when she was unconscious, before fleeing.
This was one of the rare cases in Singapore with the charge under Section 300(d) of the Penal Code – where “the person committing the act knows that it is so imminently dangerous that it must in all probability cause death, or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death, or such injury as aforesaid.” 2 weeks were given to prepare our sentencing arguments before the verdict in High Court.
At the verdict hearing, the Judge accepted our submissions that our client did not use substances to cause the fire to quicken – as a vital point in his defence. While the Prosecution argued that escape was “a practical impossibility” for the deceased, they failed to convince on that pivotal point.
Overall, we managed to cast enough doubt on the Prosecution’s case against our client, who was found guilty of a lesser charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder according to The High Court.
In the case of PP v Chong Han Rui, the co-offender received a lighter sentence despite sharing heavier culpability. Our client was sentenced by the District Judge to receive reformative training at first, while his co-accused received probation.
Justin appealed to the High Court on behalf of his client and Chief Justice Menon allowed the appeal, citing it as a significant example of equal sentencing in order “to preserve and protect public confidence” in the way justice should be administered.
Our client, a 17-year old student, slashed another teenager with a bread knife and was initially sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment and 6 strokes of the cane. We appealed against this sentence and Benny pleaded for reform over imprisonment, shedding light on the understanding behind our client's act in his argument. Due to an unstable family background, our client was placed in the care of a children's home at the age of 12. Benny emphasized that our client grew up witnessing domestic violence, and receiving reformative training instead of a jail sentence would have a deterrent effect in addition to providing him with a structure, environment, and guidance which his parents did not. The teenager's leadership skills and good academic results were also brought into account.
At the High Court's verdict, Justice Chan Seng Onn decided to give our client a chance based on his youth and potential, and allowed for reformative training.
In May 2016, the Ministry of Manpower withdrew charges against our client, a Bangladeshi safety supervisor, who was accused for lying about being injured and assaulted by his supervisor at work. He was charged for making a fraudulent claim under the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA), and for that he could have been fined up to $15,000, jailed up to a year, or both.
As reported in the news, an important witness emerged and supported our client's statement. This two-year long injury compensation case handled by Kalidass was a long awaited relief for our client, an only child, who had hoped to return home in Bangladesh to visit his mother.
Also known as Deal.com.sg, online retailer Ensogo Singapore faced the ire of many merchants who claimed that they still had overdue payments despite having sold their goods through the website. Ensogo settled these payments shortly before ceasing its local operations - but only after much effort on the merchants' part - one of which included a letter of demand. Official complaints were also filed to the Consumers Association of Singapore this year.
In light of this saga, our lawyer Emmanuel was approached by TNP for advice on on e-commerce laws and people who are considering online buying and selling. His advice was featured under the article's section: "Research before buying or selling: Lawyers"