Ladies and Gentlemen,
I continue in Court 6, Subordinate Courts, Singapore at 9.30 am on Monday July 28, 2008. The story continues from the last blog.
I am writing as time permits. I have been in court nearly every day with either this case or the Blogging case, having to work on them, leaving little time to report. As time permits, I write these blogs. Apologies to not being to be more immediate in the reporting. But rest assured, it will be done.
I reported in my last blog, on the previous day of trial that I had objected to the presence of Investigating Officer S Vikneshwaran sitting in Court during the proceedings because in Dr. Chee Soon Juan's previous cases, a valid objection was raised with the Investigating Officer sitting in court and then being observed to leave the court room and found to be coaching other police prosecution witnesses who were yet to testify, enabling them to tailor their evidence against Dr. Chee to secure convictions.
Today the Prosecutor, Mr. Peter Koy Su Hua, started the day by making a lengthy but regrettably useless and time wasting speech by explaining in detail that it was not proven in Dr. Chee's earlier case that the police in fact misbehaved in this way, but regardless, he will agree not to allow the Investigating Officer S. Vikneswaran not to be present in court while he is not testifying and to instruct the Police Officer Thien not to indulge in such illegal activity by listening to the evidence in court and then going out and telling the other police witnesses who are yet to testify, what was said.
Next, I objected to the prosecution' list of witnesses. There were supposedly several witnesses, all police officers, except for the doctor who already testified. Except for their names and they speak English, nothing was said in it as to what their role may be. I understood from other cases that the list should not only state their names and language spoken but also the gist of their testimony. I do not know if this was another dirty trick played by the Singapore Government prosecutor's office to obtain criminal convictions against political opponents of the government, but upon my raising this objection, Mr. Koy Su Hua did state orally what their roles will be, but I am still left without a written statement of their particular roles.
Next, Senior Staff Sergeant Kang Wei Chien takes the stand. He claims to be part of the policemen who arrested me on the day in question and the leader of them. He claims to have been in the Police Force for 15 years etc. He goes into a narrative. He says together with others he conducts anti crime patrols to collect information and basic investigation. He says he and his men will dress in civilian and not police uniforms, they will be in marked police cars and sometimes on foot, they go in a group of 6 policemen and such general stuff. I had asked the court to dispense with these background on the duties and practices of the Singapore Police Force, not wanting to write a theses on it, and come straight to point with the incident of my arrest, but the court permitted this totally irrelevant background information which served no purpose other than to waste everyone's time.
As background to this blog post, a leading question is one that tends to elicit a particular answer, such as "The defendant stole the purse, did he not"?, since it is almost certainly result in your witness saying "He did". Such questions are disallowed in cross examination. The prosecutor with this witness was almost repeatedly asking such leading questions to which I naturally objected. Mr. Koy then tried to justify them by saying they were "specific questions" and not "leading questions". To that, I pointed out that I have never heard the term "specific question" in the law of examination of witnesses, to which the court took no issue and the examination of Mr. Kang, the police officer went on.
Finally Mr. Koy, the prosecutor decided to come to the point of the actual case, namely the claim that I behaved in a disorderly manner and insulted police officers on July 4th, 2008, at about 9 pm at the junction of Race Course Road at Little India and Bukit Timah Road.
Kang, the police officer claims that he went on patrol to Race Course Road with 5 other police officers. He claims they were in two marked police cars, with him and another policeman Seargent Azar in the leading car and the others in another car some way behind.
Kang, the police witness says that his task was "to look for suspicious characters" and "also to visit such places like pubs and clubs to look for trouble makers as there are lots of fights at closing time".
He claims Seargent Azar was driving the vehicle, sitting on the right (Singapore has right hand drive vehicles) with him on the left front seat.
He claims that at about 10.30 pm, his car on Race Course Road drove to the traffic signal lights at the junction of Bukit Timah Road and stopped at the junction, being the first car at the junction, the other police car with the other policemen being a few cars away.
The prosecutor Peter Koy Su Hua then proceeds to refer him to some photographs which were taken at the scene. I naturally objected to him testifying on the photographs as the law requires the maker of the photographs to testify in court on their authenticity before anyone else can give testimony on them. Peter Koy's argument, ingenious but without basis nevertheless, was that he should be allowed to testify on them, and if subsequently it is proven that they are unsubstantiated, his testimony can be ignored. I objected to this argument. I demanded that the photographer be produced first to confirm their authenticity before Kang testifies anymore on these photographs.
Court agrees that photographers be called before any further testimony by Policeman Kang.
Mr. Quek Kim Nguan, police photographer takes the stand. An elderly man who does not know much English. To the question from Peter Koy Su Hua, he confirms he took the photographs.
My turn to cross examine him. He said he took the photographs of the street on July 22, 2008.
To the question from me "Do you know what a junction is?", his answer was "traffic light junction". Again to the question "do you know what a junction is" he says he cannot answer. He did not know the meaning of the word "junction". On the whole, it was clear that the poor man had hardly any English. Since the pictures did appear to show the scene, it was not necessary to make too big an issue of this man. He was released after testimony.
Next came another police witness Staff Seargent Tan Kim Kiang, a photographer, as well as a scene of crime officer, specializing in taking fingerprints. This time he took photos of the 2 police vehicles in question. He said he took photographs of the 2 police cars, a set of which I had been given. He said he took the photographs at the basement parking lot of the disused market at Little India and that he took fingerprints on the car. He then says he sent the fingerprints to the Criminal Investigation Department for results and that they "were unable to confirm that the fingerprints were mine" because, listen to this, "they don't have any records of the accused person"!
Another ingenious mind boggling statement by a government desperate to defend the indefensible. The long and short of it was that there were no fingerprints on the police car, and if there were, they were not mine. Someone else who hates in Little India at the time who hates the police like many do, may have decided to "knock" the police car and scoot off. Instead of that " they come out with this gibberish that "they were unable to compare any fingerprint with the accused person because they don't have any records of the accused person". The simple point of it all is that they cannot prove that I ever touched any police car, keeping in mind that their contention for stopping me was that I had touched their police car!
July 29, 2008/ Court 6/ Subordinate Court
Senior Staff Seargent is seen by Mr. Yap Keng Ho, another civil rights activist who happened to be in court that Mr. Kang, the police witness was in the court eavesdropping, while the 2 police photographers were testifying, from the from within the witness room, since according to Mr. Yap, this was possible. Mr. Yap is in court and I ask that he be permitted to testify as to this wrong doing.
Mr. Peter Koy Su Hua, the prosecutor objects on the ground that Mr. Yap was not in the witness room at the time, second that Mr. Kang was within the witness room and never came out and therefore there is no basis for him to say this. According to Mr. Yap however, it is possible to do this since the witness room is not sound proof. I inform the court that Mr. Yap has proof that this has happened in other occasions.
I then ask the court, Judge James Leong Kui Yiu sitting, that I be permitted 5 minutes to speak to Mr. Yap who is in court. Application to do so is denied.
Mr. Peter Koy Su Hua then addresses the court claiming that I have made unsubstantiated allegations against police officers of the Singapore Police Force, that this is part of my defense and that he hoped that the Judge would direct me not to make unsubstantiated allegations against policemen again. The judge then asked me not to make unsubstantiated allegations to which I replied that if I have personal knowledge of some fact, it is not unsubstantiated and I ma entitled to complain if that is the case. Matter was left at that.
I now cross examine Mr. Tan Kim Khiang, the witness who is a police photographer and a scene of crime expert who took the fingerprints.
There is some unintelligible testimony from his that my fingerprints were not found on the car because they did not have records of my particulars even though I was arrested that very night and my fingerprints were taken at the police station. When people who want to hide the truth usually end up with gibberish and that was what he was saying. The judge made no attempt to clarify his nonsense ordering that whatever he said made sense. It may have made sense to the judge, the Singapore prosecutor bent on prosecuting Singaporean dissidents but certainly not on an rational bystander. We have just to leave it that there were no fingerprints of mine on that police car regardless of whatever fairy tale reasons there may be.
Mr. Kang, the police officer then gives evidence from the witness box (the stand). Mr. Koy the prosecutor now tenders a sketch plan of the scene and asks Mr. Kang to testify as to the position of his car in the plan. Of course I object. Koy is trying the same trick he did with the photographs. Again the rule is when a person has made a plan of a sketch place or scene, if anyone else is made to give evidence on it, the maker of the plan has first to confirm that it was he who made the sketch plan. Mr. Kang, not having drawn the sketch plan has no authority to give evidence on it without this. Court upholds my request.
Wednesday, 3oth July 2008/ Court no. 6/ Subordinate courts/ Trial continues
Mr. Koy Su Hua now wastes time again. Since the last time the court sat, today, he produces 2 cases heard in the Singapore High Court apparently to prove that the sketch plan can be admitted in evidence merely to be identified and someone other than the maker can give evidence on it, and if subsequently it is proven that the sketch plan is false, we can then ignore the earlier evidence! All this even if it is very easy for him just to call Mr. S Vikneshwaran to court and confirm he drew the sketch plan! And he takes about half hour or so to give large explanations of what he thought this case from the court even though I have never heard of these cases before and this is then first time that I have been handed copies of this case! And what is more these 2 cases are lengthy and consist of nearly 200 pages of small print about matters that have nothing to do with criminal law at all! They are shipping cases, where contractors had negligently repaired a ship!
Naturally I object to this time wasting. To this totally irrelevant case to prove a point which is totally unnecessary when all they had to do is to just call Mr. S Vickneshwaran to court!
You would have thought the judge would have put a stop to this nonsense. Nothing of the sort. Mr. Koy is permitted to make his academic pedantic but totally unnecessary rendition of what the law was. The case he refers to is Jet Holdings vs Cooper, both the High Court and the Appeal case. Naturally I ask for sufficient time to read the lengthy case, but the judge allows mew only 30 minutes to read nearly 200 pages in fine print about a complicated shipping case and not only that, understand it!
So Mr. Koy stands up to start his long academic speech as to what the law about whether the court can rely on a document even without calling the maker of it to prove it. And to everyone's surprise, at the end of that totally unnecessary speech, he says that he admits that the cases he has referred does not entirely prove his point and that if necessary, he is prepared to call the maker of the plan, Mr. S Vickneswaran to confirm that he did it!
After all this, I point out to the court that firstly, the case actually confirms the rule that in the case of documents, the maker of the document has in fact to be called to confirm its authenticity before it can be used as evidence! End of jet Holdings vs Cooper and any reference to it. Mr. Koy after all is prepared to call Mr. S Vickneshwaran to testify!
The Court now calls to the stand a man who wishes to be known as S Vicki. Mind you, this is not his name at all! He says he is S Vicki. He states that he wrote the sketch plan of the scene.
It is now my turn. I ask him what is his full name. To that he says it is Vikneshwaran son of Sockalingam, which in Singapore is written Vikneshwaran s/o Sockalingam. Viola, finally we have now found out his real name, which he and others like him in this case were so desperately keen to conceal. He is a Tamil of South Indian descent. Not very educated and appeared grateful that he has a job as a policeman in the Singapore Police Force for lack of any better.
Mr. Vickneshwaran s/o Sockalingam now leaves and back comes the prosecutor to continue his examination in chief of Mr. Kang.
Mr. Kang refers to the sketch plan, where he was in the sketch plan and the layout of the junction of Race Course Road and Bukit Timah Road.
Mr. Kang says that his vehicle stopped at the first line of the traffic line junction, as the signal was red. In other words his was the first car at the traffic light junction. He claims he heard a "continuous and loud" knocking sound on his car while he and his driver Sergeant Azar was in it, and saw a "male Indian walk past his side towards Bukit Timah Road". "Sergeant Azar and myself made a quick check on the left hand side of the car to see if there was any damage". "The male Indian's back was facing us. Sergeant Azar shouted at the male Indian "Hello Sir" "Hello Sir" for a few times, and at the same time we were walking towards him but there is no response from the male Indian". (The language is not grammatically correct, written verbatim. Mr. Kang does not know English well) he claims his intention of approaching the male Indian (me) was to ask him why he knocked his car and to take his particulars so that if the car was damaged, he "he will have someone to fall back on".
Mr. Koy's examination in chief of Mr. Knag continues. He says when he reached the male Indian (me), he touched me, Sergeant Azar touched me on the shoulder. Mr. Kang then claims, I shouted back "Who are you?", "think you are all policemen, so what?", " You all policemen go and do your job and go catch thieves, don't bother me, I have done nothing wrong".
To Mr. Koy's questions, Kang says he showed his police pass and that he verbally told me that he was a policeman. He than claims he asked for my particulars and that I said I had none, and that I had shouted expletives at him. Kang then says he asked me why I knocked his car. He then says that I shouted to the Malay officer that he is a "Malay bastard". He then claims that I had had accidentally knocked his car (although how a man can accidentally "continuously and loudly" knock a car is mind boggling).
To Mr. Koy's question, Kang then says that while shouting I was "gestilating" with my hands. Not knowing the English word, what he meant to say that I was gesticulating with both my hands!
Now he says something very strange indeed!. He says that 2 uniformed policemen appeared at the scene from Tanglin Police Station saying that they received a 999 emergency call stating that there was a "dangerous man" in the scene and asked him whether I was attending to him? Not being sure, Mr. Kang asks the 2 men from Tanglin Police Station to check with their Operations Room!
It is now my turn to cross examine Mr. Kang the policemen. You will see how incredible Mr. Kang's testimony is!
Nair: Are you saying someone knocked your car many times correct?
Kang: Yes. I did not say many times. I said "continuously" and "loudly"
Nair: When you said "continuously" what did you mean by that?
Kang: I said someone knocked my car continuously. It means continuously. I cannot tell how many times. That is why I said continuously.
Nair: How many times is "continuously"
Knag: I do not know how many times and I do not wish to commit myself.
Nair: You were in your car at the time of the incident on the 4th of July 2008, is that right?
Kang: Yes sir.
Nair: You say your car was knocked "continuously". Why is it that you cannot even guess how many times?
Nair to Court: I am entitled to cross examine this witness on this material point. This is a question that goes to the root of this case. I am entitled to ask this question as to why he cannot state even a guess as to how many times his car was knocked even though he was in the car. I am asking that I be entitled to put this crucial question to him.
Koy Su Hua, the Prosecutor objects to my question on the ground that the question has been asked and answered.
Nair to Court: Koy's objection is invalid as this is cross examination and the accused is entitled to full opportunity to defend himself in a criminal case where the burden of proof is on the prosecution on the basis of proof beyond reasonable doubt.
The point here is this. Kang says he was inside the car. He says he heard his car being knocked continuously and loudly. Yet he is not even prepared to say how many times was "continuously" even though according to him, it was not only "continuously" but also "loudly".
Nair: Was the continuously knocking on your car by someone; was it a very hard knocking or a very slight knocking?
Knag: I wish to state that I cannot tell whether it was hard or soft knocking because I was inside the car.
Nair: I realize that you were inside the police car. From the inside, did you hear a loud knocking, slight or what?
Knag: It was a "loud" " continuous" knock.
Nair: If it was a loud continuous knock, did you turn to see who was knocking your car?
Kang: I turned and saw the accused walk past my car on the left side.
Nair to Court: I am asking the court to for assistance to advice the witness to answer the question because witness is refusing to answer it.
Nair: let me ask this question to you again and please answer the question. I am not asking whether anyone walked past your car. I am asking whether when you heard continuous loud knocking on your car, did you turn to look at who it was?
Kang: I did turn and I saw a male Indian walk past my car.
Nair: This continuous knocking on your car about which you claim you are unable even to guess how many times it was, even though you were in the car, and even though it was loud as you state, for what period of time did the continuous knocking last? Was it 1 minute, or 2 minutes or 5 minutes?
Knag: I do not know how long it was because I did not have a watch to time how long it lasted.
Nair: I am not asking for an exact period of time. For example if someone had asked me how long have I been in this court today, I can guess perhaps 10 minutes? Coming back to you Mr. Kang, even without a watch, how long do you think the continuous knocking lasted?
Kang: I do not wish to commit myself to the timing, as I do not know.
Nair: You are a police officer.
Nair: Do you know that it is a criminal offense under the Penal Code for someone to continuously and loudly knock a police car?
Kang did not provide a response.
Nair: Was that male Indian that you claim walked past your car running away?
Kang: No he was walking past my car
Nair: Did you see me continuously and loudly knock your car.
Kang: I did not see you continuously and loudly knock your car.
Nair: You say that you saw a male Indian walk past your car. Did you see that male Indian continuously and loudly knocking your car?
Kang: No I did not.
Nair: Why is it that if someone continuously and loudly knocked your car, while you were in the car, you do not know who it was?
Kang: Your honor, I never saw, how do I know who it is?
Nair: Are you trying to say that you are inside a car; someone knocks your car continuously and loudly. Why did you not turn to look who it was?
Knag: When I heard someone knock the car, I only saw the male Indian walk past the car, and therefore as such I cannot see who knocked the car.
Nair: I put it to you that your claim that someone knocked your car continuously and loudly is a figment of your imagination.
Kang: Your honor, what is a figment?
Nair: I rephrase. I put it to him that you are lying about someone continuously and loudly knocking your car
Kang: I disagree
Nair: Put to him that if someone continuously and loudly knocked his car, he would have known who it was.
Kang: I already said I did not see. I disagree.
Nair: if someone had continuously and loudly knocked your car, you would have immediately arrested the person
Kang: I never saw who knocked the car. When I turned the knocking already stopped, the accused already walked past my car.
Nair: Do you know any reason why I would want to continuously and loudly knock your car?
Kang: I do not know why and the accused should know it.
Nair: Can you imagine why someone would want to knock a police car with police markings continuously and loudly and just walk beside your car? Can you imagine why someone would want to do that?
Kang: I do not imagine anything in this court. I only tell the truth.
Nair: Can you not agree that if someone were to knock your car continuously and loudly for no apparent reason, which is incredible by itself, would you not expect that person to run away, instead of leisurely walking past your car?
Court: Disallows question. Orders that I move on.
Nair: Do you have any reason why I would want to knock your police car continuously and loudly?
Kang: I do not wish to commit myself because I do not know that.
Nair: After the continuous and loud knocking you said you came out to see if your car was damaged.
Kang: Me and Sergeant Azar made a quick check on the left hand side of the vehicle.
Nair: How long did your examination of the car take?
Kang: I cannot commit myself how long it was.
Nair: Was it 10 mins, 15 mins, 20 mins, how long?
Kang: I do not want to guess or imagine things in this court.
Nair: You are not prepared to say how long the examination took.
Kang: I already said I am not prepared to commit myself.
Nair: Is it because you are refusing to do so or unable to do so. You are duty bound to answer questions.
Kang: I am unable to do so as I do not know how long it took.
Nair: Are you saying that while you were checking the car, this male Indian was leisurely way
Kang then says that he had to check on the vehicle first and later to call out to me to ask if I knocked the car. He says that while he was checking the car the male Indian continued to walk away. He said the male Indian was walking to Bukit Timah Road. That when Sergeant Azar started calling out "Hello Sir" the male Indian was a distance from us, that he cannot tell what the distance was. He cannot tell but it was 20 to 30 meters away. He repeats that the male Indian walked past his car but did not see him knocking continuously and loudly. He repeats again that he did not see anyone knock his car. To the question that if indeed the male Indian had walked 20 to 30 mothers toward Bukit Timah Road while he was stationary at the traffic light junction, being the first car, the male Indian would have been in the middle of the Bukit Timah Road and would have been knocked down by a car and died, his answer is now that in his opinion it was 20 to 30 meters. He then says it could have been 10 meters.
I had put it to him that he had no probable cause to have stopped me on that day. I put it to him that he had instructions from above to look out for me and have me arrested. I put it to him that I have not been charged for knocking anyone’s car. He admits that he never saw me knock the car and that his purpose was to conduct a search and to question me on whether I knocked the car.
He says that Singapore police can stop anyone for a consensual conversation. That if the suspect is suspected of having committed an offense, they can check on him.
He admits that none of them were in police uniforms. He claims that he cannot say that Race Course Road and Bukit Timah junction is a crowded place on July 4th 2008 at night because he does not have any statistics. He refuses to answer the question. I put it to him that perhaps the male Indian did not stop because he thought that perhaps the calls of "Hello sir" were from thieves and gangsters, to which he says he cannot comment as he cannot speak on behalf of other people. He disagrees that the location at that time is a crowded place. He then admits that he never identified himself as police officers at all but later changes to say that he identified himself later.
I put it to him that I thought they were gangsters and thieves as they were in civilian clothes and did not identify themselves. I put it to him that I had no obligation to respond to any questions in those circumstances.
Case continues in Court 6 Subordinate Court 9.30 am on Aug 6, 2008. Future dates are August 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 2008.
See you there if you want too witness the proceedings.