Chia Ti Lik’s Blog

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TBT Trial – 5th and 6th days

30th and 31st October 2008 was the 5th and 6th day of the trial.

On 30th October 2008 we appeared before the Court. I was not ready to address the Court on its request for clarification on the way it phrased the constitutional issue.

Interestingly, the counsel representing Suraya, Jaslyn and Francis addressed the court on the constitutional point. The essence of their submission is that they agree with the prosecution with the exception of one small point – that the questions may not reveal evidence to avail a defence but the right remains on the Defence to show mala fides or bad faith in the manner of denying the permit.

Surprised as i was of the move to address the Court on the constitutionality of the statute, I had to think very quickly on what it meant. If i had adopted the position of my learned friends, i would have been conceding on the point of constitutionality of the MOA, the constitutionality of the actions of the prosecution and also the relevance of unequal treatment by the prosecution to a case and Article 12.

I came to the quick conclusion that i can never concede that Article 12 was not violated and that the constitutionality of the Miscellaneous Offences Act is suspect even though i have not made my application to void the proceedings on violation of the Constitution as yet.

Given the very fact that defence counsel of some of the accused supported the prosecution’s interpretation of the law on the constitutionality of the Act in question, does that leave effectively me as the only lawyer willing to challenge the prosecution on the consitutionality of its actions? It would be a sad thing for Singapore if this was true.

I reiterated to the Court that i needed time to address the issues properly. The Judge did not grant any additional time. I guess this would have to be taken up accordingly in time to come.

In any event, at that stage where Article 12 violation was the issue, the Judge did not frame the question to address the violation of Article 12 instead the question was framed as “in construing the constitutionality of the Act in question, whether the actions of the persons implementing the Act thereunder were relevant.”

Suffice to say, the issue would have been phrased differently if i were the judge but sadly i am not.

The cross-examination continued after that. At approximately 3pm after lunch on the 6th day. SDP ASG John Tan requested for additional time to address the bundles of documents served on him outside the Courthouse when we broke for lunch at 1pm. John Tan made a comment about there being no honour in an unfair fight, DPP Issac Tan then asked John if he was suggesting that the AG-C or himself was dishonourable.

I butted in to object to the intimidation of John Tan. I did not mince my words. To me, the twisting of words to found deeper and more severe meanings to intimidate laypersons is unacceptable in a Court and legal system that values justice.

The Judge chose to grant John and Shafi’ie the additional time, the additional time was roughly 3 additional hours because by that time, it was already past 3pm on Friday 31st October 2008.

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November 3, 2008 - Posted by | Politics

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