A witness in a criminal trial has reported being threatened by the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP). Mr Raymond Ng, a financial consultant, wrote in his blog that DPP Paul Chia had threatened him to give evidence against the accused.
Mr Ng reveals that he is very disturbed by this development and has written an account of it in his blog. He adds that “as a patriotic Singaporean, I think it is my duty to do what is necessary to prevent similar things happening to other equally innocent Singaporeans under trial.”
DPP Paul Chia threatened me in private
19 May 08
This is an updated copy of the article. I have changed the way the words are phrased. I am also emailing to Infinitus Law Corporation, the lawyers representing SPRING Singapore in the court case, you may find my points useful when you feedback to your client SPRING Singapore. I request politely for Infinitus Law Corporation to be put on my blog’s mailing list.
I was a key defence witness in the case of PP vs Lim Chin Yen. Ms Lim Chin Yen was charged late last year. This trial started late 2007, and is scheduled to end on 20 June 2008. I testified as a defence witness on 24-25 April 2008. This trial has lasted for so long because there are over 23 prosecution witnesses & 2 defence witnesses (1 witness being the accused herself).
On 27 May 2007 2:00pm, I was invited to talk with DPP Paul Chia at the Attorney-General’s Chambers’s Financial & Securities Offences Office. CAO Chia Siew Joo was also present at the meeting & she was the officer responsible for the invitation. This meeting happened before the accused was formally charged.
In that fateful meeting, DPP Paul Chia told me things which I deem to be threatening in nature.
He wanted me to provide evidence against the accused. Given that I did not think that she was guilty of anything, I refused to do so as there was no evidence against the accused (at least no evidence within my domain of knowledge or experience).
The following was what DPP Paul Chia told me:
DPP Paul Chia, “Mr Yap (accused’s husband) & his wife (accused) can hire the best lawyer money can buy, but you cannot. So it is better for you to assist me in my case against them.”
Note : At that point of time when this was spoken, I felt that he was telling me that I would be charged if I did not help him. In my mind, I was telling myself that if I were charged, I would defend myself in court.
I seriously never expected to be threatened by DPP Paul Chia. However, I decided to stay true to what I think to be true. I felt that I had a duty to my country and I would not allow a threat to lessen the loyalty and duty I have for my country – My true testimony in the court of law was what the country required & demanded of me, and no threat could affect that.
On top of that, I felt that his comments were defamatory – it was as if he insinuated that I did something wrong that I could be charged for.
DPP Paul Chia, “This case cannot be settled peacefully, the 2 of them will definitely be charged.”
Note : As this was spoken, I was thinking to myself, “Is this how a law enforcement officer performs his duties? Why is he so personal in the case he handles?”. I felt the words “cannot be settled peacefully” are non professional terms that should not have been used in a formal discussion with a potential witness (prosecution or defence).
It felt like DPP Paul Chia had a personal vendetta versus Ms Lim Chin Yen.
DPP Paul Chia, “In this case, your name will be mentioned in court, and if there is anything mentioned in court that is detrimental to you, you may be charged. So do you have any facts that you can offer now before you get into trouble?”
Note : Another mention at a potential charge on me to get me to distort evidence & facts in favor of DPP Paul Chia’s charge on Ms Lim Chin Yen. I noticed that in the whole conversation, DPP Paul Chia already acted as if Ms Lim Chin Yen was already found guilty – Anyone whose views differed from his, was regarded as a convict.
The context of the whole discussion was really about to get more “evidence” to confirm his “suspicion”. It was not to investigate on what was the truth. Besides, what was DPP Paul Chia doing? Investigation was not within the job scope of a Deputy Public Prosecutor!
Raymond Ng, “Why are you not recording my statement word for word, but only doing it selectively?”
DPP Paul Chia, “I record whatever I like to record.”
Note : He conveniently skipped through my factual descriptions and recorded only the things he deemed important. DPP Paul Chia’s response to me was in my opinion gangster like. In my opinion, I was asking a legitimate request, whether my statements were wholly and completely recorded. In return, I got a gangster like response.
Raymond Ng, “Why am I not required to sign and acknowledge any of the statements I made here?”
DPP Paul Chia, “I am a Deputy Public Prosecutor, I am empowered by the state to be able to take oral statements without requiring your acknowledgments. Whatever I say of what you said to me would count in court.”
Note : I was really perturbed by this statement. This actually encouraged me to send an email to DPP Paul Chia & CAO Chia Siew Joo to detail the things that were discussed.
The fact that there are 23 prosecution witnesses is astounding when you consider that there are only 2 defence witnesses – if you minus off the accused as a witness, there is only 1 defense witness in this case – me.
I was very concerned and worried over this case. If I had succumbed to the threat, the defence would be left with no witness at all! The repercussions of that would have been astounding – she may be convicted as a result because there is no fair representation of all facts.
This case rests on professional, scientific, mathematical, technological & consulting knowledge that is known to very few people. Any such representation in a court of law is important for the court to come to an informed verdict.
The defense counsel of the case, Mr Spencer Gwee, told me in private, “If the accused gets acquitted, half of it is due to my testimony as a defense witness”. I was not prepared to allow another innocent citizen to take the blame which she was not guilty for.
I have decided to take this public only now because I do not want facts about the case to adversely affect the trial. However, I also do not want other fellow Singaporeans to fall victim to DPP Paul Chia.
If witnesses choose to misrepresent the facts in court because of threats, the witnesses themselves are guilty of perjury. To make things worse, the court would not be able to come to an informed verdict.
As a patriotic Singaporean, I think it is my duty to do what is necessary to prevent similar things happening to other equally innocent Singaporeans under trial. I wish to remind all the readers that under our democratic system, everyone before conviction is regarded as innocent. And if they were to stand trial, they deserve a fair trial. So let us give all Singaporeans that.