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Judge Chng Lai Beng made another glaring error today. Upon resumption of the hearing following lunch break, Ms Chee Siok Chin continued her cross-examination of the prosecution witness, Deputy Superintendent Mohd Hassan.
DSP Hassan was the officer who confronted Dr Chee Soon Juan on 10 Sep 06 as he was handing out flyers to announce the march and rally at Hong Lim Park during the WB-IMF meeting that year. (Read also the following post.)
Ms Chee asked the Judge to refresh her memory of her last question to the witness before the break. The Judge referred to his notes and replied that the question was about the time length the police took to confirm Mr Hassan’s deployment.
Dr Chee corrected him: “I believe the last question was about who had conducted the briefing on the morning of Mr Hassan’s duty.”
“Yes, Dr Chee, you’re right,” Judge Chng acknowledged.
Earlier, DPP Anandan Bala had objected to the other two defendants standing up to air their views when it was not their cross-examinations.
The Judge had apparently taken this point on board because when the DPP objected to the question by Ms Chee about who briefed Mr Hassan before his duty, Dr Chee intervened to rebut the DPP.
“You’re not representing Ms Chee are you, Dr Chee?” the Judge asked rhetorically.
“No, I’m not but that didn’t stop me from assisting you when you made the error of telling Ms Chee the wrong question, did it?” Dr Chee replied.
The SDP secretary-general continued: “I’ve been through many trials and this is the first time I’ve come across the DPP objecting to the defendants intervening to assist the court in making a decision. The fact is that we are parties to this trial and we are entitled to be heard when applications are made before you.”
Dr Chee then went on to address the relevance of Ms Chee’s question:
“The matter before you concerns political parties that are in contestation for power. One of the parties will go on to form the government. When that government then says that it is an offence to demonstrate opposition to its actions, and uses a state instrument (police) to carry out its agenda, doesn’t the question of who briefs the police become relevant?
“We are trying to establish the fact that there is an abuse of power by the Government. It is no secret that we are in opposition to the ruling party. The fact that this charge makes it an offence for us to demonstrate our opposition to Government actions makes it important for us to establish ill-intent on the part of the ruling party.
The line of questioning to determine whether the police acted independently to genuinely maintain law and order or whether they are used to suppress legitimate opposition to Government actions cannot be irrelevant.”
Judge Chng: “Ms Chee’s question is disallowed. Next question.”
The hearing continues tomorrow at 9:30 am.
You are charged that you, on the 10th day of September 2006at about 12:15 pm, in the vicinity of Raffles City Shopping Centre, North Bridge Road, Singapore, which is a public place, together with 5 persons did participate in an assembly intended to demonstrate opposition to the actions of the Government, which assembly you ought reasonably to have known was held without a permit under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order & Nuisance) (Assemblies & Processions) Rules, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Rule 5 of the said Rules.
Senior Investigation Officer
Central Police Division
29 December 2008
Rule 5 of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order & Nuisance)(Assemblies & Processions) Rules:
Any person who participates in any assembly or processions in any public road, public place or place of public resort shall, if he knows or ought reasonably to have known that the assembly or processions is held without a permit, or in contravention of any term or condition of a permit, be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000.