THE lawyer representing British author Alan Shadrake said on Wednesday that he could not continue if the Attorney-General was threatening him with contempt proceedings.

Mr M. Ravi took centre stage on the third and final day of a High Court hearing to decide if Shadrake had scandalised the Singapore judiciary. He told the court: 'I must discharge myself for then there would surely be a conflict of interest if I continue acting for the author.'

Earlier, while rebutting Mr Ravi's arguments that nothing in Shadrake's book, titled Once A Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice In The Dock, could be construed as being in contempt, Deputy Senior State Counsel Hema Subramanian had said that she had been instructed to express regret over the many mischievous and baseless allegations that the lawyer has made against the Attorney-General since the hearing started on Monday.

She said: 'We do not want to deal with these unwarranted attacks here at this stage because we do not want to indulge in the tactics of the defendant of distracting the court from the issue before it.'

In addition, Ms Subramanian said that Mr Ravi had accused the judiciary of 'rubber-stamping' the contempt applications of the Attorney-General in the past. 'No clearer or more egregious example of scandalising the judiciary can be found,' she added.

Mr Ravi decided to continue representing Shadrake, 75, after Justice Quentin Loh assured him that any application to hold the lawyer in contempt would very probably come before the same court, which would be fully aware of the facts.

Lawyer offers to quit