Verdict on Chee’s free speech appeal this Thursday

Singapore Democrats

High Court Judge Steven Chong will deliver his verdict on Dr Chee Soon Juan’s appeals against his convictions for speaking in public without a permit. Dr Chee was convicted on four charges by District Judges Jasvender Kaur (two charges), Thian Yee Sze, and Jill Tan. The judges each sentenced Dr Chee to five thousand dollars or five weeks imprisonment in default for each charge.

The trials took place from 2007 and stretched all the way to 2010. Dr Chee appealed the convictions which was heard collectively by Justice Chong in November last year. 
The SDP secretary-general was charged a total of eight counts for speaking without a permit during the general elections period in 2006. He was convicted of five charges (one of which was in 2006 for which Dr Chee served a five-week prison sentence in default).

Three charges were dropped by the Attorney-General and the remaining four is currently on appeal.

Justice Chong heard the appeals in November 2010 and reserved judgment at that time. He will deliver his decision on 20 Jan 11, Thursday, at 9:30am in Court 4C at the Supreme Court. If his appeals are dismissed, Dr Chee will face a 20-week prison sentence in default of the fines.

In his written submissions Dr Chee pointed out that the charges are but a red herring because the Government has openly stated that it will not authorise public political activities. 

“The courts can convict me,” Dr Chee told Judge Chong, “but this cannot hide one simple fact: Singapore is run by a political system designed by the PAP, of the PAP and for the PAP.

“The reality is that the PAP controls the political system and comes up with laws and policies that allow it to conduct its political activities freely while preventing its opponents from doing the same.

“The public sees this. The unfairness assaults the common sense of every common person. But it seems that the courts that cannot see this.”

The SDP leader asked Judge Chong to right the many wrongs that the PAP has done to the people of Singapore. He called on the court to restore the people’s right to free speech.

“I am asking this court to intervene on the side of justice, on behalf of the people. But it seems that every time I ask for bread, I am given stone,” he added.

“You may convict me but I am comforted that I stand before the judgment of a higher court, the court of History,” Dr Chee said. “I do not live for the here and now. My words will speak louder in the future than presently. I rest assured I will be vindicated. It is with this knowledge that I remain an unrepentant defender of the people’s rights and an advocate of their freedom.”