The first Chief Justice of Singapore, Wee Chong Jin, died on this date, 5 June 2005. As he was one of my beloved judges, I will post one of his quotes for the Pro Death Penalty Quote of the week.
QUOTE: The qualities that one should look for in a judge are a burning desire to be fair and impartial; the courage to uphold the law and strike down injustice; compassion, coupled with an understanding of human frailties; and lastly, love for the law. ["A giant of S'pore legal history". The Straits Times. June 6, 2005.]
AUTHOR: Wee Chong Jin (Chinese: 黄宗仁; pinyin: Huáng Zōng Rén; 28 September 1917 – 5 June 2005) was a Singaporean judge and the first Chief Justice of the country. He was born in Penang to parents Wee Gim Puay and Lim Paik Yew. He received his early education at the Penang Free School, and read law at St John's College, Cambridge. He was called to Bar at the Middle Temple in November 1938, and was admitted as an Advocate and Solicitor of Straits Settlements in 1940 upon returning to Penang.
Wee practiced law in Malaysia and Singapore from 1940 to 1957, with the firm Wee Swee Teow and Co. He also became the first Asian lawyer to be appointed to the position of a judge at the Supreme Court of Singapore on 15 August 1957, and subsequently appointed Chief Justice of Singapore on 5 January 1963. His appointment as Chief Justice, marked the end the century-old tradition of appointing British Chief Justices -the last of whom was Sir Alan Rose - for Singapore. Wee remained in the position for 27 years, making him the longest-serving chief justice not only in Singapore, but also in the Commonwealth.
He also served as the first chairman of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights from 1973 and remained at its helm for 18 years. Wee assumed the post of the acting President of Singapore for two days when Devan Nair stepped down as President. Wee Chong Jin had also stepped in when head-of-states were either away or indisposed. He had stood in for Yusof Ishak when he was Yang di-Pertuan Negara and also for President Benjamin Sheares. He was the first president of the Singapore Academy of Law in 1988. In April 1992 Wee was made an Honorary Member and Fellow of the Singapore Academy of Law for life - the highest honour made to a person by the Academy. He served as a legal consultant of the Supreme Court of Singapore after his retirement on 27 September 1990, and was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2004.
Wee was also known for his love for sports, as he was an outstanding cricketer for Cambridge University in 1937 and a keen golfer serving as President of the Singapore Golf Association from 1962 to 2002. Wee died on June 5, 2005 of complications from lung and brain cancer, and a funeral was held at the Catholic Church of St. Ignatius at King's Road before his body was cremated at the Mandai Crematorium. Wee is survived by his wife, Cecilia Henderson, three sons, Laurence, John and Patrick, and one daughter, Veronica, and grandchildren.
APPLICATION: Although this quote does not directly refer to the death penalty, I chose this to remind people that this is a duty of a judge. I love this quote as it is another great example of a safeguard in Capital Cases. I recommend people to read the book of him, you will learn what it is like being a judge.