Chia Ti Lik’s Blog

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Pleading Guilty to Assembly and Procession without Permit – Why Pay More?

I took part in a protest on 15th March 2008. I was charged for 2 offences on 11th July 2008.

Yesterday, I decided to plead guilty to the charges i was facing as i already had gone through 2 tranches of 2 weeks each. This tranche would be the 5th week. The time spent on going on and on with evasive police witnesses in court was becoming more of a dread day by day.

I decided to plead guilty and disengage from the proceedings as i had my professionalism to my clients as priority. Surayah decided to do the same for reasons of her own.

DPP Issac Tan was visibly happy to know that i have thrown in the towel, the press was there ready to pounce…. ST’s Elena Chong and another reporter which I could not identify was there to report on the proceedings.

The charges were read. Surayah mitigated.

When District Judge James Leong asked me for my mitigation, this was what i said:

“I stand before this court with the dubious distinction of being an officer of the Court charged for offences which i am pleading guilty to.

Under normal circumstances i would be ashamed of myself but this is not the case here. It is my position that the law in question is designed to curb the activities of opposition political parties and it is my duty as a citizen to stand up against a law which violates principles of democracy and freedom.

Not out of defiance or disrespect towards the Court or the prosecution, i must state that I stand first and foremost a citizen of this country and because of my political convictions i cannot say that this will be the only offence.”

DPP Issac Tan jumped on my words and pressed the Court to take note of my lack of remorse.
District Judge James Leong took note of that and i was slapped with $200/- more for each charge. 🙂

ST was very quick with the report that i had thrown in the towel and that I had been fined $800 for each of the charges. However absolutely no mention was made by our mainstream media on why was it that i had to pay more? 🙂

Carl stopped me outside court and told me that if i had said too much. He told me that if i had stopped midway, i would not have been made to pay the additional S$400/-. So was it worth it? He asked me with a cheeky grin.

I told Carl that the $400 was well worth every cent as i needed to be clear that by pleaing guilty i am not backtracking on the principles and values i tried to push for. To me, i was only being frank to fellow officers of the court [the DPPs Issac Tan, David Low and the APP] an the Judicial Officer District Judge James Leong.

But frankly was being made to pay extra money wise? 🙂

To me, someone who has had the audacity to stand for public office,  it was a simple matter of principle, of truthfulness and accountability, of being having the guts to break the law and face the consequences. Furthermore, the $400 is money from my own pocket which i will gladly pay as the price. From my recollection, other politicians have been made to pay sums in excess of S$400,000 for saying things that are objectionable to the powers that be.

Critics will say “In essence, i was made to pay S$1,600/- of my hard earned money [I don’t make much anyway :)] to the State because of my noseyness in wanting to speak up for my fellow citizens and also of my big mouth during mitigation in Court. This was $400/- more painful than the rest of my co-accused.”

But at the end of the day, the $400/- that was losing was every cent my hard earned money. I don’t mind losing it to stand by principles of truthfulness and accountability. 🙂

This obviously pales in comparison with the position of stupidly losing S$4.6 billion of taxpayers’ money under extremely dubious circumstances and wanting to be shrouded under the cloak of secrecy.

For the Public Officers [public servants] reading such a comparison, I am sure they will be able to appreciate the finer differences between the two situations and reckon among the two, which would deserve greater respect.

I think by the above reasoning, i should measure up pretty well. 🙂 And there are no prizes for guessing where i would stand from a scale of 1 to 10.


May 26, 2009 - Posted by | Politics


  1. Your comrade in arms will certainly miss your positiveness and smiles that you always have for all of us. All of us have made sacrifices for what we truly believe in, principles of truthfulness and accountability. We could see you flinching when the law did not turn out to be what you were taught at NUS and you tried very hard to defend the system and to be faithful to your profession. It was a losing battle if you are to remained faithful to your beliefs. To be successful in your field, means compromising on your values and closing your eyes to the rape of the law you have come to love. The road will continue to be hard for activists despite what GCT has said recently. Promises for change have been made over and over again and broken many times over. Take care of yourself and we look forward to a better and caring Singapore.

    Comment by Sylvester Lim | May 26, 2009 | Reply

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  5. With all due respect, with reference to Pothepanda’s trial the DPP name is John Lu. Regards

    Comment by cm8402009 | June 4, 2009 | Reply

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