Stories about Lee Kuan Yew, Jiang Zemin and a wooden toad

Something funny happened in court today. Dr Chee Soon Juan was in the judge’s chambers with Mr Yap Keng Ho for their pre-trial conference regarding their seven remaining charges of speaking in public during the election period last year.

The Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) on duty was beamed into the office via a large screen, courtesy of modern technology no doubt.

But the impressive teleconference gizmo wasn’t what caught the eye. Displayed prominently in front of the DPP was a table-top calendar. No big deal. Until one looked at the photograph plastered over its front, that is. It was a picture of a beaming and heroic-looking Lee Kuan Yew.

When Dr Chee called Mr Yap’s attention to the calendar, someone behind the DPP noticed it too. With noteworthy adroitness, the someone quickly swooped in and snatched away the photo, perhaps hoping that no one had noticed it.

Too late.

Is the calendar Government-issued or does someone in the AG’s Chambers like the MM very much?

Something funnier happened a few doors away, also in the Subordinate Court. During the on-going trial of the Falungong practitioners DPP Hay Hung Chun and his police witnesses were hammering away, confident of winning the case with all the evidence it possessed.

Flashback: Mr Hay was also the DPP in a previous Falungong case in Nov 06. During that trial the DPP had sitting, or more accurately squatting, on his desk in the courtroom a wooden model of a toad (yes, you read it right) on top of a picture of Mr Jiang Zemin (yes, the former president of China).

The SDP is told that over in the Middle Kingdom, the talk is that the bespectacled Jiang bears an uncanny resemblance to the amphibious creature. You be the judge.

Asked about the wooden critter, Mr Hay snapped: “Its my personal stuff! Don’t touch it.” Pointed out that it may not be good to have the doll there, the young prosecutor shot back: “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”

As the Americans say, whatever floats your boat, dude.

But poison or no poison, what on earth, you ask, is the creature and its supposedly-look-alike doing on the DPP’s table? Your guess is as good as ours.

Back to present: The accused person’s are being charged with holding an assembly without a permit at Orchard in 2006. They were distributing leaflets calling attention to the persecution of their fellow Falungong practitioners in China.

The date of offence, hurrumphed the Prosecution, was 23 October 2006. The time? Between 2-3 pm.

One problem. Three of the defendants were not at the scene of crime at the said time.

What the…how can…that’s not possi…oops!

What’s more, the video evidence that was played in court for the judge had been edited. The version that was shown to the defendants prior to the trial was clearly dated and the time-lapse feature was visible.

These markings were missing in the courtroom version.

The red prosecutorial faces scrambled to come up with something a wee bit more credible – they amended the charge by changing the time of offence to between 11:45 am to 1 pm.

Submissions by both parties were made today. The judge’s decision will be given tomorrow in Subordinate Court 16.

First World, he says…