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BARRISTER Alun Jones QC has attacked the Singapore criminal justice system saying Nick Leeson, the derivatives trader blamed for the £860 million collapse of Barings, may not get a fair trial if extradited there.
He warns other barristers to think twice before considering defending Leeson in any Singapore trial, as that would be used by the country's authoritarian government to lend credence to its criminal justice system.
Jones, a seasoned trial lawyer currently acting in the Maxwell case, says his own experience of a trial in Singapore last year was "deeply alarming". "On the basis of my experience of a high-profile case in Singapore, I am fearful that he would not receive a fair trial," he says.
Jones, of 2 Raymond Buildings in London, withdrew after only three weeks from a fraud trial in which he was defending Rajan Pillai, an Indian businessman with strong London connections, who had been
extradited by the Singapore authorities.
Jones describes the trial as "a travesty" in an article in The Spectator magazine.
He says shortcomings in the Singapore system include trial without jury, a lack of disclosure, press freedom or judicial independence and the powers of the "one-party state".
Kingsley Napley partner Stephen Pollard is continuing his campaign to encourage the Serious Fraud Office to consider a case against Leeson to be heard in London.
Pollard has reiterated his "no strings" deal on an offer giving the SFO access to interview Leeson without any guarantee that extradition to the UK would follow.
Leeson remains in Germany awaiting the result of extradition proceedings by the Singapore authorities.
Pollard says the main defence argument for a UK trial is that the core issues are relevant to the UK, rather than Singapore, jurisdiction. Losses caused by Leeson occurred in London, whereas trial in Singapore will address peripheral regulatory issues, he says.