Did we think that there would be any other conclusion? The surprising twist was that the AGC decided to drop charges on 2 other editors, Mr Daniel Hertzberg and Ms Christine Glancey. The government has some sense after all despite their decision to send a message to the repeat offender, Melanie Kirkpatrick. They already made their point by fining Dow Jones Publishing for contempt of court.
Philip Jeyaretnam was the lawyer for Melanie Kirkpatrick. Maybe one day Philip might go into politics after all.
WSJ deputy editor fined $10,000
Friday March 20, 2009
Leong Wee Keat
AS A features editor of The Asian Wall Street Journal, she was fined $4,000 for contempt of court in 1985.
Twenty-four years on, Ms Melanie Kirkpatrick — now a deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page — was fined $10,000 yesterday after she was found guilty of the same offence again.
Ms Kirkpatrick took editorial responsibility for three articles published in The Wall Street Journal Asia (WSJ Asia) between June 26and July 15 last year.
Last November, the Journal’s publisher, Dow Jones Publishing Company (Asia), was found to be guilty of contempt of court and was ordered to pay a $25,000 fine.
At yesterday’s hearing, Ms Kirkpatrick did not contest against the High Court’s application of the meanings accorded to the three articles. Principal Senior State Counsel David Chong, who represented the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), argued that Ms Kirkpatrick was a repeat offender who played “a significant part” in last year’s contempt case.
But Ms Kirkpatrick’s lawyer, Senior Counsel Philip Jeyaretnam, argued that his client “had no intention or desire to undermine any institution in Singapore, including the Singapore judiciary and its individual judges”.
Senior Counsel Chong countered that Ms Kirkpatrick “has not apologised nor stated explicitly that she accepts that the courts of Singapore apply the law of Singapore without fear or favour”. She should be fined $25,000, he argued.
While he noted that she did not offer an apology, Justice Tay Yong Kwang said there were two differences between Ms Kirkpatrick and Dow Jones Publishing Company cases: First, she was a second-time offender while the publisher was a third-time offender. Second, she did not contest the articles were in contempt of court, unlike the publisher.
Ms Kirkpatrick, who is now based at the Journal’s head office in New York, was also ordered to pay $10,000 for legal costs.
Mr Chong informed the Court that the AGC would discontinue contempt proceedings against two other WSJA’s Hong Kong-based editors, Mr Daniel Hertzberg and Ms Christine Glancey.