District Judge John Ng today remarked that “we are all free citizens.” He said this in response to an issue raised by Ms Chee in the ongoing trial of Mr Gandhi Ambalam, Ms Chee Siok Chin, Mr John Tan, Mr Chong Kai Xiong and Mr Yap Keng Ho.
The five are charged with participating in an illegal assembly in the vicinity of Funan Digital Mall in North Bridge Road on 16 Sept 2007, the first anniversary of a three-day standoff at the Speakers’ Corner on 16 Sept 2006 when the WB-IMF meetings were held in Singapore.
Ms Chee had asked the judge to prevent police witnesses from conferring with one another: “What the witnesses do outside your court, obviously you cannot prevent, but when they are in the witness room they should be prevented from conferring with each other, especially with the witness who is in the process of giving his testimony.”
Judge Ng responded by saying that “we are all free citizens.”
“Your remark that this is a free country and what they can do outside this courtroom really seems awful because I’m referring to what’s happening in this courtroom,” Ms Chee stressed.
Mr John Tan also addressed the Judge on the matter: “I take issue with the phrase you used ‘free citizens’. If we are, we wouldn’t be here on trial. But I do hope what you said about us being ‘free citizens’ is true and it is our hope that this in fact will become a reality in our society one day.”
The trial enters its third day tomorrow at Court 19 starting at 9.30am.