Nair disputes charges of sending insulting emails to High Court judges

June 12, 2008
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

Mr Gopalan Nair, who is charged with having fallen foul of the law in Singapore, says he is standing by what he had said in his blog posts about the judiciary in the country.

Addressing a media conference this afternoon, Mr Nair said: “In the US where I come from, the judiciary just as any other government or official body is open to criticism and they accept it as necessary for the advancement and improvement of the administration of justice.”

This morning, Mr Nair was charged in the Subordinate Courts with two offences, both under the Penal Code, of sending emails to two different High Court judges. One of the charges alleged that he had sent an insulting email to Justice Lai Siu Chiu on 17 March 2006. The other similar email was to Justice Belinda Ang on 29 May 2008.

No plea was taken at both Court 23 and Court 26. Mr Nair, who is on bail, will appear in court again on Monday.

At the news conference Mr Nair said he is disputing the charges and would claim trial.

“My blog was written as a message to the world about my views of matters of public interest. I have been accused of sending Emails to Judge Belinda Ang and others but this is not true. I did not at anytime send any Emails to Judge Belinda Ang or anyone else as far as this incident is concerned. The police had seized my notebook containing my email password and my blog access,” the former Singaporean told reporters.

Gopalan Nair at the press conference this afternoon with his lawyer Chia Ti Lik

Gopalan Nair at the press conference this afternoon with his lawyer Chia Ti Lik

Earlier, at the court were two diplomats from the US Embassy in Singapore.

According to an observer, the Singapore authorities are not taking up issue with Mr Nair over his blog postings because they don’t want to be seen antagonizing the blogging community in the Internet.

Mr Nair came to Singapore for the purpose of observing the three-day hearing of assessment of damages in a defamation suit brought against the SDP and its two leaders by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. The hearing, from 26 May was before Justice Belinda Ang.

Mr Nair told the news conference that he was upset about what “I saw in the court proceedings”.

“I am not apologizing for what I said in my blog posts. We should have the courage to speak up and I’m not afraid for I’m not a slave.

“If I don’t do things according to my beliefs, I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in the mirror,” Mr Nair asserted.

Click here for the full text of Mr Nair’s statement at the news conference.

 

Photo credit: with appreciation to Alex Au of www.yawningbread.org