Dr Chee Soon Juan, secretary general of the Singapore Democratic Party, and Mr Gandhi Ambalam, SDPs head of public relations and international affairs, have gone on trial in the Subordinate Courts on charges connected with the People Against Poverty (PAP) rally planned for May Day in front of the Istana earlier this year.
Dr Chee is charged with willful trespass of the Istana and trying to hold a public rally outside its entrance without licence. In addition to the two charges that Dr Chee faces, Mr Gandhi is also accused of behaving in a disorderly manner, bringing the charges against him to three.
Both Dr Chee and Mr Gandhi claimed trial when the charges were read out to them this morning. Dr Chee is defending himself, while Mr Gandhi is represented by lawyer Mr Ling How Doong, who is also Chairman of the Singapore Democrats.
The Prosecutions case rested primarily on the allegation that Dr Chee and Mr Ambalam had entered upon Government land when they walked into the area in from of the Istana gate and had spoken to a crowd.
The prosecution witness, Deputy Superintendent Lim Chin Kiat, who ordered the arrest of the Dr Chee on that day, said however that he could not see the composition of the crowd. Under cross-examination, he admitted that he could not be sure if the people there were not merely plainclothes police officers and journalists. He also could not give a clear definition of what constituted Government land.
The three-day trial is expected to continue until Wednesday, 2nd October. Hearing continues.