No defence yet judge wants two weeks to make decision

November 10, 2006
Singapore Democrats

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Judge Eddy Tham made another curious decision today in the trial of Mr Gandhi Ambalam, Dr Chee Soon Juan, and Mr Yap Keng Ho.

The three men are charged with speaking in public without a permit during the elections in May this year.

The Judge decided to give all parties two weeks to prepare their submissions even though nobody needed that time.

At the conclusion of the Prosecution’s case, Judge Tham decided that the Defendants had a case to answer and asked if they wanted to take the stand or present any witnesses.

“You have the right to remain silent,” Mr Tham said to the Defendants. “But if you do, I must warn you that adverse inference might be drawn against you,”.

“I am boycotting the trial,” Mr Ambalam said dryly.

“I am boycotting the trial,” Dr Chee repeated.

“Like them, I am not calling any witnesses because you refuse to allow us to ask important questions to the police witnesses,” Mr Yap said.

The Judge then asked if parties wanted to make written submissions.

“I am not making written submissions. The case is rather straightforward,” replied Deputy Public Prosecutor Ms Lee Lit Cheng.

Mr Ambalam and Dr Chee maintained their boycott silence. Mr Yap told the Judge he needed one day to prepare his submissions.

Despite this Judge Tham gave everyone until 16 Nov to turn in their submissions and any objections to be made by 20 Nov. He will then pass the verdict on 23 Nov at 9:30 am.

It seems strange that when the Defendants have not put up a defence (even the DPP dispensed with the need for making written submissions) the Judge is still taking two weeks to come to a verdict.

On another matter, DPP Lee had earlier on in the day applied to send the original tape which contained the recording of the three men selling The New Democrat to the US for the recording’s authenticity to be verified.

Ms Lee informed the Court that she could not find anyone in Singapore to do the job and that this expert would take at least five weeks to complete the task.

The Judge turned down the application and said that he was happy with the video evidence as presented.

In the morning before the day’s proceedings began, police court bailiffs were seen asking a group of students from a university where they were from and what they were doing in court?

Mr Ambalam pointed out that members of the public had a right to attend the trial and not be harassed by the police. Is it any business of the police where observers are from?

The hearing is adjourned to 23 Nov 06 at 9:30 am for the Judge’s verdict. Any bets?