Our Mr. R. Thrumurgan represented Ismil bin Kadar in Singapore’s longest pro bono criminal trial. The Kadar case, as this case is now popularly known in legal circles, was described by the Court of Appeal as an extraordinary case with several twists and turns in the 6 years that it took Mr. R. Thrumurgan to secure Ismil bin Kadar’s acquittal on appeal.
Over more than 90 days of trial spanning 3 years, Mr. R. Thrumurgan established that seasoned police investigators failed to comply with established rules in the recording of investigation statements, failed to properly conduct crime scene investigations and failed to disclose material information to the Defence.
“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.
Although our client was convicted at trial and sentenced to death, his conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal in a landmark judgment that has become a must-read for all criminal practitioners. The Court of Appeal introduced new obligations on the Prosecution to provide evidence (in its possession) to assist the Defence – a gamechanger for Defence lawyers and accused persons. Ismil’s case was also the first where the concept of “false confessions” was introduced and accepted as part of our local jurisprudence.