Sunday, July 1, 2007


A COURT clerk's mistake is why Dickson Tan Yong Wen ended up getting the extra strokes.

This was revealed in a joint statement by the Law and Home Affairs ministries yesterday.

'Unfortunately, when the warrant of commitment was prepared by the Court Officer (that is, court clerk who assisted the judge with the administrative aspects of the case), the Court Officer erroneously reflected on the warrant of commitment an additional three strokes to one of the charges,' the statement said.

Tan was found guilty of abetting an illegal moneylender. He was convicted and sentenced on 28Feb.

The statement said that prison officers followed proper procedures when administering the caning on 29Mar this year.

This included verifying with the prisoner that the number of strokes of caning as specified in the warrant of commitment was correct.

Tan also did not raise any objection to number of strokes when he was interviewed during his admission process to prison on 1 Mar.

On the day of the caning, statement said, Tan acknowledged on the Inmate's Events Sheet that eight strokes was correct. And just before he was caned, Tan confirmed once again to the prison officers and the Medical Officer that the number of strokes were correct.

The Subordinate Courts has since taken various steps to tighten the processes. These efforts include checklists for Court Officers in preparing warrants of commitment and layers of additional checks for warrants of commitment, the statement said.

It also added that the Government regrets the error.

'The Government has also offered to refer the case to mediation. In negotiations so far, Tan's settlement sum has escalated from an initial amount of $150,000 to $3m (out of which he said he would donate $2.7m to charity), made on a without prejudice basis. This could not be accepted by the Government.'

The statement also said the court officer had resigned over the incident.
By Tay Shi'an

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