Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee, who had unsuccessfully petitioned the High Court to have the country's anti-gay sex law declared unconstitutional, have appointed a new legal team to help with their appeal.
Gary Lim, 44, and Kenneth Chee, 37,
have been partners for 15 years.
“I don’t live in fear every day that I will get caught by
the police because of my relationship with Gary but
I know that s 377A labels me a criminal,” said Chee.
According to a media statement issued today, the pair has appointed Senior Counsel Deborah Barker who is a partner and Head, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, at KhattarWong LLP, one of Singapore’s leading law firms.
Lim and Chee have also filed for the admission of Queen's Counsel Lord Peter Goldsmith to argue the appeal as co-counsel with Barker. Lord Goldsmith Q.C. is Chair of Asia and European Litigation at Debevoise and Plimpton LLP, and was Attorney-General for England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 2001 to 2007.
Lord Goldsmith had recently represented the London-based Human Dignity Trust, the International Commission of Jurists and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association to argue a similar case to s377A before the Belize Court of Appeal. Located along the northeastern coast of Central America, the former British colony's criminal code currently outlaws "carnal intercourse" between consenting same-sex adults. The Belize court has not ruled.
Lord Goldsmith will represent the couple pro bono as did he when he represented the three legal groups in Belize.
“We are glad that Ms Barker and Lord Goldsmith have agreed to represent us in this case,” said Gary and Kenneth in the statement. “Ms Barker's extensive experience in a wide range of legal cases – having represented both individuals and private organisations in both the High Court and Court of Appeal – makes her the ideal person to take on this next crucial stage of the constitutional challenge. Likewise, Lord Goldsmith has a formidable reputation in cases involving constitutional and fundamental rights, and has recently argued a similar case to s 377A before the Belize Court of Appeal on points of international law."
Lim and Chee also thanked their lawyers, Peter Low and Choo Zheng Xi for "having the courage to take our case up and for seeing us through the High Court challenge."
A recent fundraising drive for the couples's legal fees raised US$107,730 via crowdfunding site Indiegogo in two months.
According to the Human Dignity Trust, as of 2013, over 80 countries – including about 42 of the 54 Commonwealth countries – have laws criminalising private, consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex, making the expression of their identity illegal and punishable by imprisonment or even death.