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07 Dec 07
Police witnesses, Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Jeremy Koh and Inspector (Insp) Jason Lim, gave evidence that contradicted Staff Sgt Lam Tien Chiang testimony in court.
All the officers are from the Jurong Police Division. They were testifying in the trial of Dr Chee Soon Juan and Mr Yap Keng Ho who are charged with speaking without permit during the election period in 2006.
The matter involved an error that was made on the time some photographs were taken by Sgt Lam.
Immediately after the discrepancy was pointed out by the defendants, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Lim Tse Haw approached the police witnesses out of court to enquire about it.
Both ASP Koh and Insp Lim testified the day before yesterday that Sgt Lam was present when DPP Lim broached the subject with the officers during a break.
ASP Koh said that he had also asked Sgt Lam about the mistake.
“So Sergeant Lam should have known about the error, yes or no?” Dr Chee asked Mr Koh under cross-examination.
“Yes,” the officer the replied.
“And the discussion about this error had taken place before all of you, that is, Sergeant Lam, Inspector Jason Lim and yourself, had taken the stand. Is that correct?” Dr Chee enquired further.
“Yes,” ASP Koh confirmed.
When he took the stand last week, however, Sgt Lam told the court that no one had told him about the error prior to him taking the stand. He testified under oath that the first time he came to know about the error was when he was in the witness.
Dr Chee: Did anyone talk to you about the error here (referring to the time that the photographs were taken)?
Sgt Lam: No.
Dr Chee: Did the DPP talk to you about this error?
Sgt Lam: No.
Dr Chee: Did the DPP mention to you at all about the error or discrepancy?
Sgt Lam: No.
Dr Chee: At anytime before you took the stand today did the DPP mention anything to you at all?
Sgt Lam: No.
That’s three against one. DPP Lim, ASP Koh and Insp Lim had all said that Sgt Lam was present and had heard the matter of the error regarding the photographs being discussed.
But if Sgt Lam seems to be in trouble of lying under oath, DPP Lim did not cover himself with glory either.
First, why did he approach the police witnesses who were due to take the stand about evidence that was being canvassed during the trial. Couldn’t he have waited until they came to the witness box?
DPP Lim evaded answering this question by giving nonsensical answers (see here).
His evasive responses continued when he said that he wasn’t certain whether Sgt Lam was present when he asked the officers about the error. He had forgotten that he had earlier told the judge that he himself had spoken to Sgt Lam about it.
In addition, when asked when was it that he had spoken to the police witnesses, DPP Lim insisted that he could not remember even though the communication had taken place only one and two days before (see here).
In contrast, ASP Koh and Insp Lim were both very clear about the time and days the DPP had spoken to them. This was despite the fact that more than one week had elapsed, compared to the DPP’s one day!
And what was ASP Jeremy Koh doing talking to Sgt Lam Lam about evidence that was being presented during a trial when both witnesses had yet to take the stand?
All this: Sgt Lam’s lies, the contradictions by the witnesses, the prosecution’s discussion of evidence while the trial was going on, and the DPP’s prevarication don’t inspire confidence of the criminal justice system.
And this is not the first time that such prosecutorial shenanigans have been uncovered. In the previous case in Nov 06, ASP Jeremy Koh was caught going in and out of the witness room and communicating with witnesses who were about to take the stand (see here).
Add to the fact that the prosecution is against the PAP’s opponents, the picture presented of the rule of law in Singapore is decidedly wretched.
The hearing has been adjourned till 18 Feb 08.