Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mohd Hassan continued making U-turns and flip-flops in his testimony on the second day of cross-examination by Dr Chee Soon Juan.
It was reported yesterday how the police witness made contradictory statements while on the stand but refused to admit that he was lying or that his memory had failed him. The contradictions continued today.
It was an offence — or not
Mr Hassan had testified that he had approached Dr Chee at Raffles City outside the City Hall MRT Station while the SDP secretary-general was distributing flyers on 10 Sep 06. He added that he had told Dr Chee that he was committing an offence.
And what was the offence?
“Dr Chee and the others were distributing flyers that promoted an event that posed pubic order concerns,” was DSP Hassan’s reply.
“So it was not the mere act of distirbuting flyers but rather the content of the flyer that was the offence,” Dr Chee asked.
“Did you tell me what offence I was committing when you engaged me?” Dr Chee continued.
“It was clear that the offence was distributing the pamphlets,” Mr Hassan replied.
First, the witness said that it was not the distribution of the flyers per se that was the offence but then did an about-face and said that “it was clear that the offence was distributing the pamphlets.”
When Dr Chee pointed out the glaring contradiction, the officer stared blankly into the microphone in front of him. He then bizarrely came up with: “The pamphlets or flyers that Dr Chee was distributing promoted an event which could pose a public order concern.”
Dr Chee brought the witness back to focus: “You had said that the offence was not one of merely distributing the flyers but rather the content of the flyers, right?”
“Yes,” the witness replied softly.
Seeing the DSP’s dilemma, Dr Chee offered: “Was it a mistake, a mistatement, that you had mis-spoken the second time round?”
“Perhaps it was a mistake,” Mr Hassan finally admitted.
To pose or not to pose a public order concern?
A day earlier, under cross-examination by Ms Chee Siok Chin, Mr Hassan had testifed that he had called the Command Post when he first spotted Dr Chee outside Raffles City because his assessment was that Dr Chee could “pose a public order concern.”
Dr Chee revisited this point today: “Why did you not confront me when you first saw me?”
“At that time there was no public order concern,” the witness replied.
Confused, the defendant continued: “But wasn’t it your testimony that you called the Command Post when you first spotted me because, in your assessment, I posed a public order concern?”
The Judge then stepped in and said that Dr Chee’s questions were referring to two different things. The SDP leader disagreed. The Judge, however, insisted that the defendant rephrase his question.
Dr Chee complied: “Witness, you had made an assessment that I did not pose a public order concern and that is why you did not confront me when you first saw me. At the same time, however, you said that you called the Command Post because you made the assessment that I posed a public order concern. Which is which?”
“When I first saw Dr Chee, my assessment then was that he could pose a public order concern,” Mr Hassan replied. (emphasis added)
Dr Chee repeated: “The question is: Did I or did I not pose a public order concern when you first saw me?”
“At that point in time, Dr Chee could not pose a public order concern,” came the contradiction. (emphasis added)
We will leave readers to figure out how to make sense of Mr Hassan’s replies.
Starbucks or escalator?
The third controversy arose when the witness testified that he had walked up from Starbucks Coffee to confront Dr Chee.
“So I was facing Starbucks and you were facing the escalator going down to the MRT Station?” Dr Chee asked.
At this point Dr Chee showed the DSP the photograph above which shows the officer engaging Dr Chee on the day of the incident.
Confronted with the evidence DSP Hassan agreed that the positions of the two men were, in fact, the opposite: Mr Hassan was facing Starbucks Coffee while Dr Chee was facing the escalators.
The DSP quickly pointed out, however, that when the photograph was taken, the positions had changed. He maintained that his original version was correct.
The video footage taken by the police would determine whether Mr Hassan was right or wrong. Unfortunately, the DPP would not produce it as part of the prosecution’s evidence.
Dr Chee ended his cross-examination of DSP Hassan today. Hearing resumes tomorrow with the next police witness.