Spend to win big? Ng's acquittal may have cost him $500,000

Former CNB chief Ng Boon Gay (centre) , seen here with his wife, Madam Yap Yen Yen, may have paid at least $500,000 for his lawyer, Senior Counsel Mr Tan Chee Meng (right). Mr Ng was acquitted on Thursday.

SINGAPORE - How much, the cost of freedom?

Lawyers for former Central Narcotics Bureau chief Ng Boon Gay, who was on Thursday acquitted of four charges of corruptly obtaining oral sex, declined to reveal how much he was billed.

But other lawyers said they expect costs to be above $500,000, and possibly even more than $1 million, given Senior Counsel rates.

So are such fees necessary in obtaining the desired legal outcome?

Lawyer R. Thrumurgan, 39, from Thiru & Co, said he did not think paying high fees for a lawyer would guarantee success for an accused.

He had previously defended, pro bono, Ismil Kadar and Phuthita Somchit, both of whom were facing the death penalty.

Pro bono is Latin for professional work done voluntarily and without payment, or for a reduced fee, as a public service.

The Law Society has a Pro Bono Services Office, which runs the criminal legal aid scheme in Singapore.

Ismil was on death row for the murder of his elderly neighbour, while Somchit faced the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking.

Ismil was acquitted of murder charges in 2011 while Somchit escaped the gallows and was jailed nine years in 2010.

Said Mr Thrumurgan: "A large part of a case's outcome depends on the evidence and the hard work of the lawyer. If the evidence is clearly on the side of the client, then of course the chances of winning the case are much higher."

Ex-CNB chief found not guilty of corruption
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