Lawyer’s Spolight | Mr S. Balamurugan, Director, Criminal Lawyer


What motivated you to pursue criminal law among other practice areas?

I started off as a General Practitioner doing civil, family, criminal and general solicitors work. With Criminal Law work, there is a lot at stake, especially for the Accused, whose reputation, liberty and dignity will likely be affected if found guilty. Most criminals are not inherently evil, but fallible. Often times, their mistakes are the result of poverty, addiction, and mental health issues. It is my job to put heavy proof requirements on the State before an Accused is subjected to such punishments. The criminal case is almost always a David versus Goliath story, and I like being the underdog.


What are some of your most memorable moments in your criminal law career? 

I had defended an alleged robber and got an acquittal after a trial. His tears and relief after the verdict said it all. Also, a chartered accountant whose charges of assisting in tax evasion were withdrawn. The Chartered Accountant was also hauled up for disciplinary action by the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants but the charges against him were dismissed eventually. These cases, amongst others, were memorable as I journeyed with the respective clients for a period of time, enabling me to see their lives, struggles, fears, strengths, motivations and their determination to succeed.


What are some of the challenges you faced in your line of work?

Deadlines, billing pressures, client demands, changing laws, evolving legal technologies are some of the challenges. However, these challenges are also faced by most lawyers and can be overcome with patience, utilizing the skills set and with determination.


What motivated you to become a volunteer lawyer with the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, doing pro bono work and participating legal clinics?

Actually, I didn’t need any motivation to become a volunteer lawyer. Helping the lesser off and making a positive impact in their lives was something I wanted to do since I left law school. It gives me a sense of fulfillment as a professional.