THE lawyer acting for the British author convicted of contempt of court said on Tuesday that his client 'will certainly apologise if he has offended the sensitivity of the court'.

But the Attorney-General's Chambers branded this a 'half-hearted attempt at an apology', and argued that Alan Shadrake, 76, should be jailed for at least 12 weeks.

Defence lawyer M. Ravi made the comments at the High Court while arguing for a lenient sentence for freelance journalist Shadrake, who has so far refused to take back baseless attacks against Singapore's judiciary in his book on the death penalty. He did not elaborate on when Shadrake might apologise or under what circumstances.

Mr Ravi said Shadrake had not intended to undermine confidence in the judiciary in his book Once A Jolly Hangman: Singapore's Justice In The Dock. He said his client should only be censured.

But deputy senior state counsel Hema Subramanian dismissed the promised apology as 'insufficient and insincere' and a 'tactical ploy' by Shadrake to escape punishment.

Ms Subramanian argued that the severity of Shadrake's contempt far exceeded that of previous incidents, including a case in which three men were jailed for between seven and 15 days for wearing T-shirts depicting a kangaroo dressed in a judge's robes.

Author 'should get 12 weeks jail'