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District Judge Christopher Goh dismissed a Magistrate’s Complaint filed by Ms Chee Siok Chin and Mr John Tan last week.
Ms Chee and Mr Tan had filed the complaint in February this year for unlawful detention and selective use of the law by the Singapore Police Force when the two were walking along Orange Grove Road in 2007 (watch video Part I and Part II).
In her complaint, Ms Chee stated that during the ASEAN Summit that year, police officers along Orange Grove Road harassed and stopped her and Mr Tan from walking to Shangri-la Hotel. The police had told them that the area was under gazette at that time.
Ms Chee argued that if that was the case, why were other pedestrians and vehicles allowed in the vicinity while she was being prevented from proceeding.
Mr Tan also said that he had been assaulted by the police officers in the the van.
The SDP leaders stated that after they were forced into the van, the police officers told them that they were not being arrested but refused to answer repeated questions about where they were being taken.
On Tuesday last week, the judge told both complainants that in response to the complaint, the Internal Investigation Department of the Singapore Police Force had come to the conclusion that Ms Chee and Mr Tan were removed from the vicinity under the Protected Area and Places Act. The report was sent to the Attorney-General’s Chambers who decided that there was no case for the police to answer. The judge thus dismissed the matter.
Ms Chee pointed out that the investigation was carried out by the same body against whom the report was made.
Mr Tan argued that the two main issues highlighted in the complaints were not being addressed by the investigation. He asked the judge to demand answers to the questions raised, but was rejected. The selective application of the law and the wrongful detention of the aggrieved persons were dismissed by the district judge.
Judge Goh responded by saying that he had no powers to initiate prosecution. In other words, he could only act on the direction of the AGC.
Despite much explicit reasoning, the judge could not see the absurdity of an investigation carried out by the perpetrators and the decision not to carry out further action by their accomplices.
The PAP has for decades used public institutions against its political opponents and dissenters. This is a serious misuse of power. Unfortunately, Singaporeans have been subjected to such abuse for so long that many have come to accept it as normal.
Is this the Singapore-styled democracy to which Mr Lee Kuan Yew is referring when he rejects “liberal democracy?” Is this the kind of democracy that Singaporeans have pledged to uphold? The answer is clear. The function of all government agencies or public institutions is to serve the people, not the party in power.
This is why the Singapore Democrats and Friends continue with the struggle for democracy and pursuit of justice and equality for all.