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District Judge Toh Yung Cheong granted the Prosecution a last minute application to vacate a set of hearing dates because the police needed their witnesses for duty next week during the APEC meeting.
Contrast this with the warrant of arrest he issued for Dr Chee Soon Juan when the SDP secretary-general had to attend his father-in-law’s funeral in Taiwan in June this year. Even after he was notified of the death, Judge Toh initially refused to rescind the warrant of arrest.
This point was raised by one of the defendants, Ms Chee Siok Chin, who is being charged with attempting to hold a procession during the World Bank-International Monetary Fund meetings held in Singapore in September 2006.
Ms Chee said that she had wanted to be on record that the Judge had readily granted the police their application to vacate hearing dates scheduled from 9-12 Nov 09.
“This is in spite of the fact the dates were fixed more than a month ago,” she pointed out, “and they make the application only at the last minute.”
“Compare this to the application Dr Chee made when his father-in-law passed away earlier this year,” she continued. “You had given us such a hard time making us come back to court repeatedly despite us informing you that Dr Chee had to be away due to a death in the family.” (See here)
Judge Toh had issued the warrant of arrest despite Dr Chee making repeated appeals to the court to adjourn the hearing due to the circumstance.
Even after the defendants had informed the court that Dr Chee’s father-in-law had passed away, the Judge still refused to withdraw the warrant. Mr Toh, however, subsequently corrected his decision and called parties back to court to withdraw the warrant.
“I just want to be on record that while you so readily grant the police their application, you made it so hard for the Defence to make our application,” Ms Chee said.
Mr Gandhi Ambalam, a co-defendant in the trial, also made the same point.
“The difference in treatment adds to my concern if we can get a fair hearing,” Mr Ambalam pointed out.
Judge Toh responded, “Your points have been recorded.” He then directed the hearing to continue for this week.