T. S. Sinnathuray

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Thirugnana Sampanthar Sinnathuray (22 September 1930 – 18 January 2016), better known as T. S. Sinnathuray[1] was a Singaporean Supreme Court judge. He was born the son of a school principal and received his early education at Pearl's Hill School and Outram School but this was cut short by the Japanese occupation of Singapore in February 1942. He continued his secondary education in Raffles Institution after World War II, completing his senior Cambridge examinations there in 1948. He went on to read law at University College London and graduated in 1953. He was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn.[2]

Upon his return to Singapore, he joined and practised law with the firm Oehlers and Choa and was appointed Magistrate in 1956. He was made Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court in 1960, becoming a full Registrar of the Court in 1963.[2]

Sinnathuray was appointed by Singapore's President Benjamin Sheares, a Judge of the High Court of Singapore on 1 October 1978,[3] and served in his office till his retirement on 23 September 1997. With his appointment, Singapore had in total only six Supreme Court justices then. On 1 August 1979, he was also appointed Commissioner of Appeals for Land Acquisitions. Notable cases judged by him during this time include the Toa Payoh ritual murders, serial murderer John Martin Scripps, opposition politician J.B. Jeyaretnam libel case and the Asian Wall Street Journal case.[4] Sinnathuray was also the 3rd President of Singapore's Military Court of Appeal and was succeeded by Justice Goh Joon Seng upon retirement in December 2007.[5] In 1988, Sinnathuray was a member of the Royal Tribunal (an international six judge panel) convened by the King of Malaysia to investigate alleged misdemeanours of Tun Salleh Abas, Malaysia's then Lord President of the Supreme Court.[6] T.S.Sinnathuray was the inaugural chairman of the newly formed Asean Law Association (ALA) (Singapore Chapter) in 1980.

He is also a numismatist in Singapore, and an expert on Singapore and Malaya postcards. He was Chairman of the Third Singapore Note And Coin Advisory Committee in the Board of Commissioners of Currency Singapore, serving from 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2008, and a consultant to and Chairman of Mavin International Pte Ltd.

In 1993 Sinnathuray (as founder President) and fellow alumni friends established the Singapore Chapter of the University College London (UCL) Alumni, not only to provide to the welfare and interest of other UCL graduates in Singapore but also to provide a local platform for networking with other members from other Chapters around the world.[7] In 1976, Sinnathuray became the first non European to be elected President of the Singapore Cricket Club (1976–78). He was awarded the Singapore Public Service Star award by the President of Singapore in 2009.[8] He died on 18 January 2016 at Singapore General Hospital from pneumonia.[9]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ a b Koh, Tommy (ed.) (2006) Singapore : the encyclopedia. Singapore : Editions Didier Millet
  3. ^ 'Appointment of High Court Judge', Singapore government Press Release (Document No. 1210-1978-09-21; dated 21 September 1978)
  4. ^ [2][dead link]
  5. ^ [3][dead link]
  6. ^ "Comment: Tun Salleh and the judiciary". The Malaysian Bar. 2008-04-29. Retrieved 2016-01-29. 
  7. ^ [4][dead link]
  8. ^ "National Day Awards 2009". News.asiaone.com. 2009-08-09. Retrieved 2016-01-29. 
  9. ^ K.C. VijayanSenior Law Correspondent vijayan@sph.com.sg (2016-01-19). "Former Supreme Court judge T S Sinnathuray dies; notable cases include Adrian Lim murders, Courts & Crime News & Top Stories". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2016-01-29.