Lawyer Chia Ti Lik stood his ground today when he told a district judge that “as a citizen of this country, I have to stand up against the law that violates the principles of democracy and freedom”.
Mr Chia made the defiant statement when he was asked by Judge James Leong if he had anything to say before sentence was passed.
Earlier, Mr Chia, one of the Tak Boleh Tahan (cannot stand) protesters, had pleaded guilty to two charges of “illegal assembly and procession” in front of Parliament House to mark World Consumers Day on 15 March 2008 where nearly 30 people had gathered to protest against the escalating cost of living. This afternoon, Mr Chia pleaded guilty to the charges due to work commitments.
Before he was sentenced, Mr Chia read out a statement in which he told the judge: “I am not in defiance or disrespectful to the court. But because of my political conviction I can’t say this will be the only offence.”
Hearing this, Deputy Public Prosecutor Mr Isaac Tan noted that Mr Chia had shown “no remorse”.
Agreeing, Judge Leong said: ”Chia is unable to ensure the court that he will not do it again.”
The judge then fined Mr Chia, $800 for each offence, making a total of $1,600 or ten days’ jail in default. For his “unremorsefulness”, the lawyer was fined $400 more than the amount meted out to Mr Chia’s co-defendents who had siimilarly pleaded guilty also because of work commitments. The maximum fine for each offence is $1,000.
Another accused, Ms Suraya binte Akbar, a 26-year old housewife with three young children also pleaded guilty at the same court to the two charges and was fined a total of $1,200 or eight days’ jail in default.
Meanwhile, the trial involving thirteen other protesters continues at Subordinate Court 5 tomorrow at 9.30 in the morning.