Ladies and Gentlemen,
First Day, Charge of Disorderly Behavior and Insulting Police Officers on 4th July 2008, American Independence Day, at or near Little India Singapore. I deny both charges.
July 24, 2008, Court 6, Subordinate Court Singapore, 9.30am
Case begins in court. 9. 30 am.
If anyone was to read the following narration and was to think that I had just killed 20 people in broad daylight, it is nothing of the sort. You see it is Singapore that you are dealing with, where small petty incidents and taken out of proportion if Lee’s political opponents are involved; taken out of context, twisted and a mountain made of a mole hill.
And not just that, taxpayers money wasted like water; with court cases everyday, state controlled newspapers writing full page twisted biased articles to vilify defame and discredit the offender, hoping to make him look in the eyes of Singaporeans who are gullible enough to believe such nonsense, that the man who had the audacity to criticize Lee and his country, is indeed much worse than Guy Foxe himself; the criminal who set fire to London.
Again and to bring you back to reality, the accusation here is merely that I misbehaved and yelled at police officers. I am sure you will agree that all over the world, people sometimes misbehave and out of frustration or otherwise, call a policeman a pig or a donkey. And sometimes, I am sure you will agree that some policeman; not all; deserve such a scolding. And if that were to occur in any civilized country; the culprit is faced with no more than a warning, admonished and permitted to go his merry way; especially if it is his first time for such an infraction.
You see, policemen are afterall civil servants. They serve us. We pay their wages through our taxes. Therefore the best rule is that we should not insult insult anyone, not just policemen and we should be kind to animals. Similarly policemen should not insult citizens and they too should be kind to all living things.
But not in Singapore. Oh no. Especially if a former opposition politician such as Gopalan Nair were involved; the most minor indiscretion has to be dealt with as if he had committed no less that serial murders. The full extent of the Singapore Police Force and the state controlled newspapers has to be used to vilify and defame him. A warning is never sufficient if Gopalan Nair is involved. A warning may be sufficient for other ordinary men; but Gopalan Nair is not an ordinary man; certainly not in the eyes of this dictatorship. He is one of a few but growing number of Singaporeans and former Singaporeans who feel it is time that Lee and his cronies should be told that Singaporeans should not be treated as slaves any longer. Not just Singaporeans but no one should be treated that way.
So Lee is afraid of what he sees. That is why he reacts this way, with prosecutions and defamation actions whenever he hears any criticism. This is not the reaction of a confident man to criticism. This itself is proof that he fears the growing numbers of people who are now courageously coming out to be counted. Standing up to this dictatorship demanding to be heard even braving arrest prosecution, conviction and imprisonment.
In Lee's Singapore, men such as Gopalan Nair have to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Taxpayer’s money should be spent generously and lavishly for that purpose. He has to be charged. His face has to appear in the state controlled Straits Times on a daily basis with twisted reporting to show him as no better than the devil himself. Not just for one day but on a daily basis. So much so that everyday while I remain in Singapore against my will and walk about the streets, almost every Singaporean recognizes me.
But mind you, that is not to say that I myself did any such thing. I have denied both charges. This much has to be clear.
But the bad news for the Lee government is this. That if the intention of the government is to make me look bad, the effect is just the reverse. On a daily basis now, no less than 20 people approach me and congratulate me on what I have done. And what is worse for the government, after congratulating me and asking me to stand my ground; they curse this government.
They are aware, thank God of the truth.
I am becoming increasing popular in this country while I continue to remain here. And I hope the state controlled Straits Times will continue posting my picture daily on it.
And to remind you once again, the accusation against me is only that I behaved in a disorderly manner, whatever that is and I yelled curses at police officers. I deny those charges. No big deal on any score. This is not theft, murder or high treason. Please keep that in mind. Thanks.
In court at commencement of the trial, Gopalan Nair asks for full names of Judge, Prosecutor and Investigating Officer for the record. Suprisingly all of them refuse to give their full names. Prosecutor is prepared to say only that he is Peter Koy. Prosecutor is Chinese. They usually have a full Chinese name as well. The Judge is prepared only to say that he is James Leong and refuses to give his full name. In the case of Investigating Officer in the case, he uses a completely false name. He claims to be S Vicki. He wishes to remain to be entirely incognito.
When I pressed the Prosecutor that he should not attempt to hide his true identity, that these are legal proceedings and he should give his full name, his answer was that he uses the name of Peter Koy only, that is how he appears in court and that he sees no necessity to give his full name to Gopalan Nair or to anyone else! Imagine that! These are legal proceedings and he is refusing to give his full name; and not only that, the Judge is himself trying to hide his true identity. Even he is not prepared, in legal proceedings, mind you, to give his full name. He stands by his position that there is n need to fully identify himself even though these are legal proceedings in court. As for the Investigating Officer, he is determined to hide his identity completely. I understand from some court documents that his name is indeed S. Vikneshwaran, Investigating Officer Central Police Division, HQ, but why he should be so determined to remain under false pretenses like a thief is indeed mind-boggling.
I do not know why the Judge, the Prosecutor in court and the Investigating Officer are all so determined not to provide their true names! Mr. Peter Koy, the prosecutor, the Judge in this case, Mr. James Leong and the gentleman who goes around under an entirely false name, Investigating Officer Vicki all must have some compelling reason to hide their identities. Or else why the great reluctance in stating who they are?
As to why they are so determined to hide their true names in official legal proceedings at any cost, is left entirely up to you. I have since discovered through my research that the Judge is actually Mr. James Leong Kui Yiu and the prosecutor is Peter Koy Su Hua. The Investigating Officer is S Vikneshwaran of the Central Police Division. I intend to ask him when he testifies again what his true name is and that going around, as S Vicki will not do at any cost. It will be interesting to see how he answers.
As for the Assistant to the Investigating Officer, I was informed that he is Tony Thien! Again full name was not provided despite my asking.
Since the court was quite prepared to allow all government parties in the case to go around under false or incomplete names, I then asked the court, admittedly facetiously, that since this was so, perhaps they should change my name in all court proceedings to Gordon, since any other name would do! I pointed out that what is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander after all. The Singapore constitution does require equality under the law and if it is all right for judge, prosecutor and police officers in the court to be going around under false pretences, and incomplete names, why then should I not be permitted now to be called Gordon instead in all court proceedings.
As expected, and you would have guessed this much, the court denied my request. Gordon was not allowed for me, but the prosecutor can use an incomplete name, the Judge can do the same, the Investigating Officer can use an entirely false name but in my case, Gordon was not permitted. Please do not misunderstand me. I am very proud of my full name Gopalan Nair and would rather die than be called something else. But for the sake of testing the equality of persons before then law, it was quite clear that it was one rule for the Judge, the Prosecutor and the Investigating Officer but entirely another for the Singaporean Dissident, Gopalan Nair.
A point needs to be clarified on the state controlled Straits Times report on me, of July 25 2008. It said without more that I asked the court to address me as Gordon in court proceedings. This is not entirely correct. I only asked that this be done, after the judge insisted that he, James Leong was not prepared to tell us who he is, the prosecutor was not similarly prepared and neither was the Investigating Officer. For the record, I am Gopalan Nair, and very proud to be none other than Gopalan Nair, now and always.
I then asked that the Investigating Officer, being a prosecution witness, not be permitted to remain in court during the proceedings. It is well known that in the past in Dr. Chee's cases, it was found that the Investigating Officer sat in court during the proceedings, listened to the evidence, and was subsequently found to be coaching other prosecution witnesses who were yet to testify. This is a serious abuse of process. My request was granted, surprisingly, with the prosecutor Mr. Peter Koy Su Hua confirming that the prosecutor will not be present in court while others testify.
My application for the other police witness Mr. Tony Thien to be sequestrated was disallowed on the grounds that he has to help the prosecutor with administrative duties. The judge had directed the prosecutor to order him not to relay any information to other police witnesses but to what extent he would keep that word, one does not know at this stage.
After the above exchanges in the morning, came another shocker.
The prosecution now, on the first day of trial, requests leave to serve on me amended charges. Although the prosecution had all the time in the world, since my arrest on July 4th 2008, American Independence Day, they wait until the day of the trial, July 24, 2008, 20 full days later, to surprise me with amended charges.
Naturally I object. The rule of law is very clear. The prosecutor is required to give notice to the Defendant of the charges he has to meet in sufficient time, for trial preparation. It is entirely unacceptable to surprise the Defendant with charges to which he had no time to address. I strenuously object. But the prosecutor argues that I should proceed and defend myself to them because according to him, the changes are minor and therefore such a practice of handing in amended charges at the last minute is permissible.
Thank God I am a lawyer and not a layman even though for the purposes of this trial, I am a layman. Had I been a layman in the true sense with no legal training at all, this prosecutor would have got away with it.
The court orders that the trial itself start on Monday, July 28, 2008 except for the testimony of Dr. Cheong which will be heard that day, and about which I explain below.
The first witness was supposed to be Doctor Gabriel Choeng of the Raffles Medical Group, A and E Department. Another surprise. Prosecutor Peter Koy Su Hua suddenly produces a medical report of this doctor and serves it on me; the first time I have ever seen it. He then says that unbeknown st to me, Dr. Cheong has to leave the country for a year on Sunday night, 2 days later and that I should cross-examine him on his testimony that very day or else he will not be available for a long time!
What in Heavens! The police had from July 4th 2008 to give me the police report and they spring another surprise on the day of the trial with a medical report and a request that I conduct a cross examination of the doctor that very day, right away!
Upon my vigorous objection, the Judge agreed to have the doctor's testimony to be taken on August 6th, 2008, which happens to be a trial date for this case. Not wanting to wait that long, and being faced with an impossible situation, I reluctantly agreed to do my best that afternoon, after I had consulted my legal help, Mr. Chia Ti Lik.
Afternoon 2.30 pm. Court No 6, Subordinate Court, same day
2 amended charges, one for disorderly conduct and another for insulting police officers are read to me. I plead not guilty.
The charges are that on or about 10.30 pm on July 4th 2008 at a place known as Little India Singapore which is an area where the Indian community is concentrated, I had behaved disorderly in that I had gesticulated with my hands (whatever that means) and I had insulted police officers by using expletives at them. These 2 charges are not only baseless, they are absurd. I had no reason for doing this and no motive whatsoever. As to why the police are charging me with this, only they know. I have all along denied these charges and have clearly stated that I intend to fully dispute them.
Doctor Gabriel Cheong, of Raffles Medical Group, A and E Department now takes the stand. He was the doctor who first examined me at Cantonment Police Station during the early hours of the morning after my arrest on July 25, 2008 while I was in custody.
The doctor is referred to his medical report prepared by him. In summary it states as follows. He saw me at 0125 hours on July 5th 2008. The examination was completed at 0133 hours. That he was asked to examine me for injuries and to take a sample of my blood for alcohol analysis. That I had told him that I was forced to the ground by police officers and that my spectacles were damaged. That I had complained of pain to my wrists from the use of handcuffs. That I was clinically ambulant. That he noted alcoholic breath. That he noted superficial abrasions over both my wrists. That there was no evidence of bruising or cuts on the rest of my body during examination. That he deemed me fit to be locked up. That he took a blood sample at 0128 hours. That testing of the blood was carried out by Center for Forensic Science. That the results are still pending at the time of the report.
The prosecutor then asked the doctor to summarize his findings. The doctor repeats what is in the report. He states that I had full range of motion with both hands, left shoulder and elbow. And then he repeats what is in his medical report. For the first time, he states that he noticed an abrasion on my right eyebrow.
To the prosecutor’s question as to why he did not mention the abrasion on the right eyebrow, his answer was that he was only concerned with life threatening injuries and that he was not looking for other lesser injuries. He did however say that I had tenderness on both elbows as well, although this too did not appear in his medical report.
At my question whether such injuries to my right eyebrow could have been caused by forcefully pushing me to the ground, the doctor agreed that it is impossible to hypothesize as to what amounts to excessive force, as was my contention that I was thrown to the floor with excessive force.
However to my question to the doctor as to how I behaved with him during his medical examination, his answer was that I did not behave disorderly before him, that I was polite to him and to all intends and purposes I behaved towards him like a gentleman. Moreover the medical report on my blood analysis from Health Sciences Authority dated July 08, 2008 states my blood alcohol level to be 24 mg per 100 ml. This report categorically proves that I was not drunk at all, and what is more, I am even fit to drive a car. The alcohol limit for drunk driving, as you know is 35mg per 100ml.
The case was adjourned to Monday July 28, 2008. I will be writing on what transpired on this day in my next blog post, hopefully tomorrow.