This post was deleted in Queenstown Prison, Singapore, where I was serving sentence, on November 13, 2008, one day after my court hearing. The police brought a laptop computer to a table outside my cell A422, Cell Block A, Queenstown Prison, at about 11 am in the morning. There was a Chinese policewoman in plain clothes, probably a computer expert with them. I was ordered to remove this post by the prison warden, Assistant Superintendant of Prisons, G Savier, a Tamil, to comply with my undertaking to the court. I am now defying that order as I had earlier indicated. I am re-posting it now. I am now in contempt of the court order of Judge Leslie Chew, Court 15, Subordinate Court, Singapore.
December 04, 2008
Fremont, California USA
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Yesterday, the 5th of September 2008, Subordinate Court No. 6, 4.30 pm Singapore. I was convicted of disorderly behavior and one count of hurling abuses at police officers. I have already narrated the incident in my earlier blog.
I was fined $2,000.00 and if I failed to pay, to serve 2 weeks jail for the hurling abuses at police officers charge. For the disorderly charge, $1,000.00 and if I failed to pay, 1 week in jail. In total $3,000.00. I have filed an appeal, which means that I don’t have to pay just yet. Mr. Chia Ti Lik will be my lawyer in the appeal.
This case, which I shall call the disorderly case, took 18 days of trial in court. I defended myself. After all I am a lawyer. So if I have been fined $3,000.00, you may say that I got my money's worth. I have made the court and the Singapore Attorney General to work very hard for 18 days of court time. In return the fine I have to pay them is only $3,000.00. If you look at from a financial standpoint, you could say that I have ripped them off. What, for 18 days of court time, they get only $3,000.00!
But on a serious note let me summarize what happened. The prosecution case had so many holes; you could have called it a sieve, and a broken one at that. And what was worse, except for 5 police officers, there was not a single independent witness, despite the fact that there was reported to be more than 25 independent onlookers as stated by the police spokesman himself in the Sunday Times of July 6, 2008!
On the morning of Sept 5, 2008 at 10 am, the prosecutor Mr. Koy Su Hua rose to address the court. His arguments were that I had hurled racial abuses at Malay policemen, which in his view should not be tolerated in a multi racial Singapore. Second that I had misconduct myself in the case by asking questions, which the judge had disallowed. Third that I had insisted that the Tamil Police Investigator give his full name instead of being allowed to use his nickname, which was S Vicki. Fourth, a similar accusation against Mr. Koy and the judge James Leong. That I had used the trial for political ends. That I had cast aspersions on the integrity of the judiciary including the judge Mr. Leong. That I had shown no remorse. And therefore, because of these things, I should be sent to prison because a fine was not enough.
I pointed out to the court that I deny ever hurling any abuses at anyone. And that each time someone used a racial abuse is used; if the offender is sent to prison, there wouldn’t be sufficient prison space to house all the offenders!
That I deny ever having behaved disorderly, as I had no reason to be. I was not drunk, as shown by the blood alcohol report, and neither was I mad. That I never misbehaved in court in any way, which was nothing more than a figment of imagination, Mr. Koy's that is. As for demanding full names, it was my understanding that in any country in the world including Singapore, people have to give their true names. If a man is John Smith, he cannot say that he is Archibald Adams! And that applies to this Tamil Investigator from Central Police Station who happens to be Vickneswaran s/o Sockalingam (s/o means son of) whose true name I only discovered by asking him a direct question during cross examination. The surprising thing about this name business is that this man, Mr. Koy, as well as the judge himself had flatly refused to give their full true names at all. Mr. Koy wanted to be known only as Peter Koy and the Judge wanted only to be known as James Koy. In the end we discovered that he was in fact Peter Koy Su Hua and the Judge was James Leong with 2 other Chinese names.
I pointed out that demanding true names was not being impudent or insulting at all. Although I cannot really say why this police officer from Central Police Station Vickneswaran s/o Sockalingam, Peter Koy and Judge James Leong were so determined to hide their full true names, I can make an intelligent guess. As they are aware that I write this blog, and that it is well read, and as there is a possibility that I may even write a book on this whole unhappy episode, they rather remain unknown to avoid embarrassment. They probably don’t want the world to know what they have to do for a living.
I had also pointed out that I had no respect for the Singapore judiciary which has been seen to be used as a political tool to silence dissent. I pointed out that it was not just I saying this but the respected International Bar Association in their recent 72-page report says just as much. As for remorse, I said I have none. As I have not committed any crime, how can someone expect me to have remorse? I told the judge that if it makes him happy, I could say I am sorry, but truly I am not; since it is impossible for someone to have remorse for a crime he did not commit. Saying sorry will therefore not do any good, neither for me nor for the judge. Just because the judge James Leong says I am guilty, does not make me so.
Mr. Koy, poor man was trying very hard to justify his claims. For instance he relied on a case PP vs. Daniel Lo Kiang Heong, 2007 SGDC 47, the facts being the defendant having gone to Devils Bar in Tanglin Road, got thoroughly drunk, shouted "baka" and "bakero" which meant “idiot” and “stupid bastard” in Japanese, of all languages, at police officers and when told to go home by them, showed his middle finger at them, and when arrested by a woman police officer, had bit her left breast for which she received medical treatment at Alexandra Hospital! This case was far more serious from anything that I was accused of. For one, I did not bite anyone, let alone a woman in her breast! Furthermore, even though the defendant in that case had acted in a very violent manner, he was asked to merely go home, when I was given no such opportunity, given the fact that I was Gopalan Nair.
Mr. Koy went on to refer to 2 more cases, which again had no relevance to mine at all, they being cases involving criminal breach of trust and credit card fraud. Mr. Koy was clearly clutching at straws to show that I should be severely punished.
I managed to refute these desperate challenges by Mr. Koy to paint me in bad light, but it did no good. I have no doubt in my mind, knowing how the legal system in Singapore works that the sentence imposed on me by the judge was already predetermined well before I walked into court. You see, it was not a criminal trial at all, but a political exercise from the start. The court was yet again being used by the Lee Kuan Yew dictatorship just as they have done for the entire history of Singapore since 1959, for a political purpose. It was to punish an openly known critic of the Singapore government so as to send a message to every other Singaporean that criticizing the government means trouble. And therefore they should not do it.
As for Mr. James Leong, I have this to say. I have begun to know him pretty well since it took 18 days of trial. He is a good man at heart; there is no doubt about it. If he had his way, there is no doubt he would have acquitted me immediately. But alas he is weak. He cuts a pathetic figure. A man, because of his circumstances, having to do things that he does not really want to do. He knows that his employment as a judge in the Singapore courts depends on the patronage of Lee Kuan Yew and his friends. He also knows that Lee demands his judges to punish political opponents of the government. And therefore to keep his job as a judge, he has no choice but to find me guilty. The sentence imposed upon me, and the timing of the dates of the sentencing were, in all probability, all decided for him by the Minister for Law in consultation with Lee Kuan Yew and his friends.
But I have to say this of Judge Leong. He was polite and treated me with respect throughout the trial. He was both courteous and decorous. I only wish one day, this man will have the courage of his conviction either to tell this government in no uncertain terms that he is not a politician, and if they wish dirty work to be done, they should find someone else. And if the government refuses, he should just walk out like a self-respecting man, with his head high on his shoulders and with his pride intact. Alas, that may be too much to ask in the fear ridden island of Singapore.