NOT SCARED OF 'HOPELESS' CASES
He was dubbed The Basher, Supreme Commander and The People's Hero by his peers in the law fraternity.
The late Subhas Anandan was a criminal lawyer who was both fearless and feared in the courtroom.
Yesterday, those who knew him recounted fond memories of a "pillar of the legal community".
To ex-Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) and Commercial Affairs Department director Glenn Knight, Mr Anandan was a formidable adversary.
He told The New Paper: "I had to tell younger DPPs that you can't take him on on the more difficult cases. 'You'll lose,' I told them. In those days, I always reached a compromise with Subhas in 90 per cent of the cases."
Lawyer Edmond Pereira said Mr Subhas often plunged head first into an unwinnable case, and for free.
"He knew what it was like to be an underdog as he was an underdog himself. He was passionate and not afraid to take on hopeless cases.
"He would always do his best for his client," Mr Pereira said.
Law Minister K. Shanmugam, who is also Foreign Affairs Minister, said that Mr Subhas' attributes should be emulated by aspiring criminal lawyers.
He told TNP in an e-mail: "Younger people can learn this; that integrity, a sense of justice, a concern for the less well-off - these are key attributes of a truly outstanding lawyer; and if they want to be leaders at the Bar, they need these qualities."
Championing the poor was always tied to his upbringing, said Dr Kirpal Singh who attended the University of Singapore with Mr Subhas.
Dr Singh, who teaches English literature at Singapore Management University, said: "Despite his brash outward behaviour, he was compassionate. He was quite indifferent to the rich and powerful because he grew up amid poverty. And he never forgot that."
Mr Subhas, a senior partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, took on more than 2,500 cases after he was called to the Bar in 1971.
Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon described him as a leader of the Criminal Bar.
"He assisted me greatly when I was the Attorney-General by patiently explaining some of the issues that were facing the Criminal Bar.
"These discussions led to a regular series of dialogues with senior members of the Bar, which were extremely relevant and productive," he said.
Lawyer Satwant Singh, a former vice-president of the Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore, which Mr Subhas had co-founded, said the latter was affectionately known as Supreme Commander during the monthly meetings at his home.
Said Mr Singh: "Before each meeting, we would jokingly ask, 'What would the supreme commander be discussing this month?'
"He behaved like one too, sitting in his chair with his feet on the table (during the meetings)."
- ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF