Arguments on constitution continue on day 4 of trial

Singapore Democrats

As reported yesterday, District Judge Chia Wee Kiat had indicated that he wanted time to consider whether the defendants charged with conducting the Tak Boleh Tahan protest outside Parliament House could cross-examine the licensing officer to determine if there was any discrimination by the police when they rejected the application for the protest.

However, when the session resumed this morning Judge Chia asked the prosecution to address him further on this point.

In question is Dr Chee Soon Juan’s application for a permit made on 28 Dec 07 for a protest to be held on 15 Mar 08. The police had rejected the application without providing any reason.

However, the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE), led by PAP MPs, staged a protest outside Parliament House involving thousands of participants on the same occasion of World Consumer Rights Day on 18 Mar 07 and 16 Mar 08. Why was one group of Singaporeans allowed to conduct such an activity and another group prosecuted?

The defendants argue that such discrimination violates Article 12 of the Constitution which requires that all citizens be treated equally under the law.

The Judge also indicated that he wanted to consider Dr Chee Soon Juan’s application made last week that the charges were unconstitutional and should be summarily dismissed (read Dr Chee’s application here). He asked the DPP to also make arguments on this point.

DPP Isaac Tan then asked for half-an-hour to research the law on these two matters, which the Judge granted. Half-an-hour turned into two-and-a-half by which time lunch was at hand. The trial will resume tomorrow morning in Court 5 at 9:30 am.

The hearing was adjourned for the afternoon because defendants Mr John Tan and Mr Shafi’ie needed to attend a pre-trial conference at the High Court together with Mr Isrizal over their charge of contempt of court for wearing T-shirts with a picture of a kangaroo in a judge’s gown.

The trial for the three will be held next week from 4-6 Nov 08.

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