Photos credit: Tan Yunyou
Amidst the ongoings of the defamation suit over the past one week, I am also facing two criminal charges.
The Pre-Trial Conference (PTC) for the criminal case was held yesterday. Yes, it has been a week of back-to-back trials and hearings for me.
On 27 September last year, I participated in the #ReturnOurCPF protest at the Hong Lim Park where we had marched.
There was also another YMCA event at the park also set up by grassroot volunteers from the government.
We were then set up.
Things then came fast and furious.
Three weeks later, I was investigated by the police in October and in November, I was levied with criminal charges.
Initially we were investigated for unlawful assembly but we were charged with something else later.
With five other people, we were charged for public nuisance, for things like marching, shouting loudly, chanting slogans, waving flags, holding placards and blowing whistles – things which people normally do at protests.
But I was also charged with a second crime.
Together with Han Hui Hui, I was also charged for holding an illegal assembly under the Parks and Trees Act.
(Two weeks after I was charged, the judgement was then passed to say that I had defamed the prime minister.)
For both the criminal charges, I will be liable for penalties of up to $6,000.
Lawyer M Ravi is representing Hui Hui and I.
Lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam is representing the four others who have also been charged.
Yesterday, the PTC was held at the state court to determine the dates for the hearing for this case.
The state court said that the hearing will tentatively be set in April 2015.
On the charge that Hui Hui and I are facing under the Parks and Trees Act, Ravi will be raising a constitutional question.
By charging us under the Parks and Trees Act, this is in violation of the use of the Speakers’ Corner which is exempted from the Public Order Act and the Public Entertainment Licence.
According to the Terms and Conditions for the use of the Speakers’ Corner, only the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation has the right to cancel any approval or disallow any event or activity at the Speakers’ Corner.
This was not done. Our event could proceed. As such, we cannot be charged under the Parks and Trees Act.
Ravi will be asking the state court to refer the determination of the constitutional question to be made in the High Court on the grounds that there is a constitutional breach made by the government.
I understand from my lawyer that there is a new provision for a leapfrog appeal to jump from state court to the Court of Appeal , where we could ask for 5 judges to interpret the constitutional question and look into the constitutional breach. We will explore this option.
The government has made a constitutional breach against our constitutional rights.
Apparently the person who made the police report against us was not even from YMCA. The police report was made by a third party.
A man was waiting for his girlfriend at the bus stop next to the Hong Lim Park on the day of the event on 27 September 2014. He felt affected and called the police at about 4.30pm to make a report against us.
The report was made as the #ReturnOurCPF event was progressing. However, even though the event was held from about 4pm to 6pm but throughout that time, even after the police report was made, no police came.
Because the plain clothes policemen were already there since before 3pm.
But no arrests were made even after the police report were made. The police were only standing around and filming us.
It was only 2 weeks later that the police started calling up a few of the protestors and only a month later that the six of us were charged.
For the witnesses, we have instructed Mr M. Ravi to subpoena Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck to be a witness. Mr Teo was the guest-of-honour at the YMCA event.
According to Ravi, the star witness for the government and prosecution is Ariffin Sha.
Ariffin will give evidence for the government, and against the 6 of us who were charged.
According to what Ariffin told the police, he said that he had told us to stop marching after the first round of march. He also claimed that I had apologised because he told me to do so.
Ariffin came into prominence suddenly last year.
I have now become more wary of the people around me and who I put my trust in.
After being betrayed and having found a traitor among our midst, I am more careful now.
It is disappointing and hurtful but where I have been constantly bombarded and prosecuted over the last half a year, this is perhaps expected.
The hearing for the criminal case will tentatively be held in April. The hearing for the defamation suit will tentatively be held in June.
This coming Friday, on 23 January at 10am, for the defamation suit, I have also filed an application to set aside the summary judgment. Mr Lee Hsien Loong has sued me for defamation but he is “not entitled as the Prime Minister of Singapore and Chairman of GIC” to do so. He has been using government resources “in his capacity as the Prime Minister” for the suit.
But he has breached the Ministerial Code of Conduct as he is a public servant and he should not be using public resources for his “personal” suit.
The pre-trial conference will be held on 23 January at 10am at the high court.