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Tak Boleh Tahan trial – The first 2 days

The first 2 days of trial of the Tak Boleh Tahan protesters have been eventful.

I was surprised in the morning of the 1st day that E-Jay had chosen to plead guilty and accept the Prosecution’s offer to take into consideration the procession charge if he pleaded guilty to the assembly charge.

As a result, the hearing which had started proper at about 9am plus had to be stood down to 11am and subsequently 330pm. This was because E-Jay’s plea had to be taken before another District Judge and the prosecution had to get their Statement of Facts ready for it to be done. By the time E-Jay’s matter was finished, our matter could only proceed on at about 330pm.

The reading of all the charges to the 18 accused took almost 2 hours till it was about 5pm.

The prosecution applied for a joint trial of the remaining 17 protestors and Yap Keng Ho. All of the accused objected to a joinder of trial with Yap Keng Ho. The Prosecution, however, was adamant to the Court that the joinder was sought and was a must. The Court granted the application for a joint trial despite objections from all of the accused.

SDP’s Assistant Treasurer Mr. Jeffery George wanted to ask for an adjournment due to his job commitments which required him to be away from Singapore to carry out his contracted tasks. And if that failed, for a disjoinder from trial with the rest of us. And if that failed, he had no way out but to plead guilty.

As it turned out, there was no way out. Jeffery George had to drop out of the fight. He pleaded guilty to District Judge Liew Thiam Leng in court 2 at about 745pm. When his matter ended it was way past 8pm and by the time he was out of Court, it was close to 9pm.

We went for dinner and a beer after that. Jeff was apologetic. Our 2nd lovable Jeff made sure we were all well fed. By the time i reached home, it was near midnight. i flopped onto the bed and slept. That was the last thing i knew.

Jeffery George is a man of courage. It was unfortunate that he had to give up the fight. He is still nevertheless a brother to me.

The 2nd day came to me in the form of a chirping bird outside my window. I looked at the clock and knew that i was late. It was 7.15am. I did manage to get to Court on time, i even managed to squeeze in a breakfast before that.

To my surprise, Yap was late on the 2nd day. We did not start until it was past 10am. As Dr. Chee addressed the Court on a constitutional point, I was left feeling guilty about not having been able to contribute meaningfully to that submission as yet. There was just so many things to do.

However, what was so interesting about the 2nd day was yet to come.

Firstly, we finally got to see the Police video recording of the event which will be tendered against us.

I had complained to District Judge Chia Wee Kiat that I had requested during the PTCs for a copy of the recording so as to obviate having the need to waste time over such videos at the actual trial. The DPP at the PTC refused to address the issue but instead asked me to write in.

I did so on 8th September 2008 making a formal request for the recording. This was ignored.

I received a call on the night of 20th October 2008 from the Investigating Officer Yew Ai Choo that the video was available for viewing on the next day at Police Cantonment Complex.

As i was already too tied up with preparations and they were not even promising to give a copy as yet, i decided to forgo the viewing and take up the matter with the trial judge.

In any event, the DPP Issac Tan finally provided the video copies as at Noon 24th October 2008. I managed to arrange a viewing on the Court equipment in the same afternoon at 200pm.

The Prosecution also increased the number of their witnesses to 27. This meant a total of 27 + 18 = 45 people to be cross-examined. Each witness to be potentially cross-examined 19 times.

Thereafter the trial started.

The evidence of Prosecution’s witnesses started with that of SSG Nor Hida, Police Staff Sergeant and Photographer. The interesting thing about the cross-examination of SSG Nor Hida was that this police officer after 8 years and 9 months of service:-

1. was NOT SURE whether or not parliament house area where she was instructed to take photos of the scene of the offence, accompanied by the Investigating Officer, WAS GAZETTED. 🙂

2. despite being trained in photography for about 8 years, she did not know much about the camera she used. She only knew it had a zoom lens but was UNAWARE of the focal length of the lens. 🙂

It was also interesting to note how some of our seemingly relevant and pertinent questions were stopped dead in their tracks (but fortunately after the above had been ferreted from the witness) by the DPP’s objections and the Judge’s concurrence BUT how much leeway was given to Yap Keng Ho in his cross-examination of the Police photographer which delves into the possiblity of whether the photographs of the scene had been doctored.

Now it must be noted that the photographs taken by SSG Nor Hida at the Instruction of Inspector Yew Ai Choo WERE NOT contemporaneous photographs of the scene of the offence. The photographs were taken on 18th July 2008 i.e. 4 months after the alleged offence and 1 week after the charges were mentioned in court.

Yap’s questioning, according to my understanding as stated in my earlier post of Recurring Themes, tended to go overboard with innocuous details. I had also noted in past observations where trials involved Yap and Dr. Chee was that the Prosecution and the Courts tended to be extremely tolerant of Yap’s questioning.

Jufrie objected to Yap’s line of questioning. Kaixiong objected as well. John Tan went to the extent of writing a note to the DPP asking whether the DPP could object. The note never reached the intended recipient as Counsel for Jaslyn and Surayah Mr. Thirumurugan stopped the note gesturing that this cannot be done.

I sat on my seat and observed for many minutes our 2 Deputy Public Prosecutors and their Assistant Public Prosecutor and obviously enjoying Yap’s enterprise in taking the witness and the Court on a round about tour of photographic texture and intricacies. Quite a circus in itself.

I waited for a while further and lost my patience. I stood up and and objected to Yap’s questioning. The reporter from our Straits Times Mr. Jeremy Au Yong caught only 1/2 of my statement.

It was reported that i interrupted Yap’s questioning by stating “Your Honour, i do not see the relevance of the line of questioning taken by Uncle Yap, and I am wondering why the DPP has not objected.”

I also said immediately thereafter.

“This is what happens when the prosecution seeks a joinder of trial of all 18 remaining accused and this is what happens when we are joined in a trial with Yap.”

The DPP responded that the joinder was proper and that the questions were relevant.

Whereupon the Judge also remarked that the questions put forth by Yap were relevant.

I held my peace and returned to my seat. From the corner of my eye, Dr. Chee had already taken off his spectacles and was no longer following the questioning. Yap then carried on with the questioning until there was a break.

To my surprise, Yap stopped the line of questioning after the break. I was told by someone thereafter that Ms CSC had fired Yap during the short interval AND Yap returned to Court and willingly abandoned that line of questioning. Much to the relief of the remaining 16 accused.

The events of the day left me with some conclusions as well as some questions in mind.

Though many observing the proceedings (at least one reporter did share that he felt the same way) may wonder whether the prosecution is in love with Uncle Yap’s cross-examination technique and whether Yap is also very much keen to appear before the courts and the prosecution to entertain them, BUT few people will doubt the effectiveness of the approach by Ms CSC.

Ms CSC had, by firing Yap during the break, managed to break a holding pattern which has plagued criminal prosecutions involving Dr. Chee Soon Juan from the days of yore. For the first time, i heard, Yap had abandoned a line of questioning much to the relief of his co-accused.

There have been many sayings about certain people, and who they listen to.

In this case, it certainly seems to be true. 🙂

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October 25, 2008 - Posted by | Politics

2 Comments »

  1. Sometimes, I really wonder. You and your party members state they want freedom of expression, etc. Yet, you moderate your own blogs, forum, site, etc. What a joke. Hypocrisy is the worst form of stand. Try it. You have switched sides at least 3 times. Your loyalty is questionable.

    Hahaha..

    And btw, your post up there is a log life-story. Few will bother reading. Try shortening it and not become Elfred. Yes, I know him. He’s a character on TV. It’s an insult to be compared to him.. 🙂

    See ya..

    Comment by panter92 | October 27, 2008 | Reply

  2. […] vs Chee – Chia Ti Lik’s Blog: Tak Boleh Tahan trial – The first 2 days – Jaslyn Go’s Blog: The trial begins – [Part 1 The Dilemma] [Part 2] – Singabloodypore: THE […]

    Pingback by The Singapore Daily » Blog Archive » Daily SG: 28 Oct 2008 | October 28, 2008 | Reply


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