Lawyer receives conditional warning for violating gag order in doctor’s acquittal for assault

SINGAPORE: A lawyer has received a conditional warning for publishing the transcripts of the case of a doctor acquitted of indecent assault, in violation of a gag order protecting the plaintiff’s identity.

Meanwhile, Johannes Hadi, 32, received a discharge not tantamount to an acquittal on two counts under the State Courts Act for violating a gag order.

Mr. Hadi was a junior barrister under attorney Eugene Thuraisingam defending Dr. Yeo Sow Nam. Dr Yeo was acquitted of all charges of sexual assault against a woman after a trial.

According to Mr Hadi’s charges, he released transcripts of the court proceedings containing unredacted information that could lead to the identification of the woman when distributing the transcripts to the press on March 16 last year.

A second charge says he again distributed to the press transcripts containing unredacted information that could identify the plaintiff on August 11, 2021.

In response to questions from the CNA, a spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Chamber (AGC) said the prosecution had requested that the charges against Mr. Hadi be given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal “after a review attentive to the facts and circumstances of the case”.

A conditional warning has been issued to Mr Hadi, and he could be prosecuted on the same charges if repeated, the AGC spokesman said.

She said the prosecution took into account that Mr Hadi was a young lawyer who acted under the instructions and supervision of Mr Thuraisingam, who was lead counsel in the case of Dr Yeo Sow Nam.

“Given Mr. Hadi’s role in the incident, a conditional warning in lieu of prosecution has been issued to him,” the AGC spokesman said.

Mr Thuraisingam pleaded guilty to breaching a gag order relating to the same incident and was fined S$4,000 in August.

The penalty for violating a gag order is up to one year in prison, a fine of up to S$5,000 or both.