SDP 5: Judgement reserved--what judgement?!

The notorious (and acquited) SDP 5 who consists of SDP chairman Gandhi Ambalam, assistant secretary-general John Tan, and central executive committee member Chee Siok Chin as well as SDP supporters Yap Keng Ho and Chong Kai Xiong. Who doesn't know about them? Well, I don't.

Their case is pleasantly ignorable. A street procession by a pathetically large figures of five created so much legal noise that the court time was taken to assess if the procession was indeed a procession.

Yeah, I know. It sounds ridiculous. The case should be closed immediately. No further judgement ought to be reserved. Publicity is what these SDP 5 want most. Ignore the incident; it's not worth mentioning (or blogging--ah, never mind...)!

THE High Court has reserved judgment in the Government's appeal against the acquittal of five opposition figures for taking part in a street procession in 2007.

Justice Choo Han Teck said he needed more time to consider submissions from the respondents and the prosecution, which is represented by the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC). He did not indicate when he would give his decision.

Three of the five are Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) leaders: chairman Gandhi Ambalam, assistant secretary-general John Tan; and central executive committee member Chee Siok Chin. The other two are SDP supporters Yap Keng Ho and Chong Kai Xiong.

They were cleared, after a 20-day trial, of walking without a valid permit from Hong Lim Park to the Queenstown Remand Prison on Sept 16, 2007.

District Judge John Ng's written judgment said he acquitted them because he did not consider what they had done a procession.

During yesterday's half-day hearing, Mr Bala Reddy, chief prosecutor in the AGC, presented several arguments against the verdict.

From Straits Times, "Judgement reserved on SDP 5".

Also from the same article, "About the case":
THE SDP five staged a walk on Sept 16, 2007 to commemorate the first anniversary of a planned protest march the police had disallowed at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings held here in 2006.

They walked from Hong Lim Park to Parliament House and the Istana before stopping at the Queenstown Remand Prison, where SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan was being held.

Had the five been convicted, they would have faced a fine of up to $1,000 each.




Update on 01/04/10: High Court overturns acquital of SDP five for holding procession without permit. And no, it's no April Fools' joke.

The Singapore High Court has allowed a government's appeal and convicted five opposition figures for taking part in a street procession without permit.

Among them are three leaders of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) - Chairman Gandhi Ambalam, assistant secretary-general John Tan and central executive committee member Chee Siok Chin.

The other two are SDP supporters Yap Keng Ho and Chong Kai Xiong.

They were acquitted last October after District Judge John Ng found that their walk from Hong Lim Park to Queenstown Remand Prison in 2007 did not amount to a procession.

But on Thursday, High Court Judge Choo Han Teck said the five knew that a permit was required, despite their assertion that they were merely walking.

The procession was held to mark the anniversary of the World Bank-International Monetary Fund meetings protest in 2006. The group previously had an application for a police permit turned down in 2006.

The five will be sentenced at a later date, after mitigation submissions have been heard by Judge Ng.

From Channel NewsAsia, "High Court overturns acquital of SDP five for holding procession without permit".



Update on 21/04/10: the verdict (is it finally, uhm, final?) is out. The group is convicted after a rare Govt appeal against their acquittal & fined either either $500 or $600.

So what have we learnt from this case? Well, that it cost $100 to stay in jail for a day. Heh.

FIVE leaders and supporters of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) have each been fined either $500 or $600 for taking part in an illegal street procession in 2007.

They are SDP chairman Gandhi Ambalam, assistant secretary-general John Tan, central executive committee member Chee Siok Chin and party supporters Yap Keng Ho and Chong Kai Xiong.

District Judge John Ng sentenced them on Monday, with Tan, Chee and Chong each fined $500 or five days' jail in default. Gandhi and Yap were each fined $600 or six days' jail in default.

The five applied for time and were given until May 14 to pay the fines. They had faced fines of up to $1,000 each under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act.

Earlier this month, High Court Judge Choo Han Teck allowed a rare appeal by the Government against their acquittal last October by the district court, and convicted the five.

He also sent them back to District Judge Ng for sentencing.

From Straits Times, "SDP group fined".

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