The answer has to be No.
He and the rest are being charged for disrupting the YMCA event and causing a nuisance. Was he denied from speaking? Again no, they had been allocated a specific lawn to have their protests, demonstrations and talk. Further to this, they have been given permission to organise protests every month. No one else does this but them. Yet they were allowed at all times even on a day when another event was given earlier permission, they were still allowed. They know that a permit is required, they have applied before. The permit clearly states that there's no exclusive use and the Commissioner of Parks has the right to cancel or revoke such a permit if it causes nuisance to others.
There can be no doubt unless you want to be blind to the facts, that video footage clearly shows them disrupting the event, not once but thrice, while 3 separate acts were going on. There is also irrefutable evidence that Ms Han in the days leading up the event, had clearly expressed a view to bring whistles and placards, to confront and disrupt the event, by approaching the elderly, the disadvantaged children and of course, the presence of Minister Teo Ser Luck. So can Roy still have the cheek to say, he's being charged for 'speaking up?'
Of course not. And as usual he refuses to take responsibility. But even let's say he wants to speak up, which of course he's entitled to, the question people should ask is, who's asking him to? Is he being forced to? How many opposition parties do we have? At least 6, 2 within Parliament. Did any of them ask him to do so? Are we in the midst of an election campaign? Aren't they the ones whom we will choose besides the ruling PAP, to represent us? So why should Roy and Ms Han assume they represent Singaporeans at large and have a right to demand unconditional support for their actions?
The answer is pretty obvious, this has been a lucrative endeavour. They get fame and most of all are able to solicit donations from hard-core opposition supporters or those they can hoodwink into believing they are victims or fighting for a just cause. So when he says he will stop, it's just to gain sympathy. The fact is he won't stop until the donations or monies dry up. And in this post he's asking for an astronomical $46,000 to pay for legal fees and fines. And this is just for the case as it stands. I understand they plan to launch a constitutional challenge or judicial review of the Law. And of course if convicted it's likely they will appeal. Both instances will go to the High Court, and that's easily another $50,000 minimum. To quote him:
If we are to fight the charges against us, the legal fees, we have been told, come up to $30,000 for the six of us. The penalties will come up to another up to $16,000.
I do not know where to get this money.
It is time you step up, my friends.
I need you to step up. I need you to fight for yourselves now.
My friends, we need to stand up and join hands now.
My friends, help us help yourself.
It is time. Help us.
What he does not reveal is that he already has around $110,000 from his crowd-funding efforts for his lawsuit which he insisted proceed. He quoted legal fees of $70,000 there, meaning he has in excess of $40,000 already. And he can at his own choosing, still settle the matter out of court with the PM and save a considerable sum of that $70,000. Instead he has now used 'Uncle' Leong Sze Hian's FB page – Empowering Singaporeans and The Real Singapore and posts on his FB wall to 'advertise' for donations. After 1 day he's raised $460 (see below)
Obviously this will not do, so get ready for a full barrage of whiney posts and videos aggressively soliciting donations for his 'legal fees.' I am sure he will be able hoodwink some people into donating, but for others who are contemplating donating, please consider the following points:
1) Let's just take his argument at face value – he's being silenced. Why then should he and Ms Han and the rest, openly defy the NParks and Police?
He can twist and turn, but didn't he say the Police were just doing their job? Ms Han said before the event she wanted to disrupt the event when the Minister arrived. Now ask yourselves if you're a Police and NParks officer, if this is brought to your attention, can you simply not do anything? The Police have a duty to uphold the Law and ensure public safety, doesn't the words from Ms Han constitute some kind of threat?
When warned by the Police not to burn this effigy of Lui Tuck Yew, Gilbert Goh did the wise thing and complied.
2) Even using their weak arguments that it's a 'stitch up job,' now you have the Police and NParks warning you not to proceed, what would any normal person do? Even Gilbert Goh when advised by the Police not to burn an effigy of Minister Lui Tuck Yew, complied with the warning. Does Roy and Ms Han think the Police and NParks turned up for a 'game of dare?' Say you want to enter a premises, the Police stop you and tell you not to go further, do you ignore? If you're sitting under your block and making noise, the Police come and tell you to stop and disperse, do you ignore? And what will happen if you do ignore? Do you think the Police will simply drop the matter?
When told to use their own lawn and not disrupt the YMCA event by NParks Director Chia and the Police, Roy and Ms Han refused to comply and insisted on doing whatever they wanted. Were these actions responsible? Do they think these officials came there for fun? Is Hong Lim Park an 'Anyhow Hantam Park?'
Isn't it the height of recklessness by him and Ms Han to have ignored the warnings? Isn't it their fault that they chose to proceed and disrupt the event? So now they have been charged, is it fair to ask people to donate for their legal fees, when any normal person would have stopped and taken the presence of Police as a matter of serious concern?
And I'm not even using an argument based on logic that what they did was premeditated and wrong. I'm using their own weak arguments. Surely any normal person would have said, never mind, let them win today, we go back and complain and let everyone know we have been bullied. We don't go and defy the Police and invite being arrested and charged in court.
Finally even after being charged, these are very minor offences, rather than fight all the way, surely the logical thing is to look at costs and say whether it's worth it to fight all the way? Do we need to spend tens of thousands or should we try and settle for a lower sum? Simply pay the Section 290 fine and get a lawyer to mitigate and for the pair, make representations that they will plead guilty if the 'illegal demonstration' charged could be dropped or an agreement that the prosecution will ask for a lesser fine. Instead of $46,000, you can be looking at a total sum of say $15,000 or less for all of them. And Roy can certainly pay this amount from what he already has collected.
Get ready for the sequel as Roy embarks on another whiney campaign to prise monies from you.
Most people when charged in court will look at their actions, the charge and the fines. Will any normal person want to pay hefty legal fees when a case can be settled at far less? There is no question of unfairness here, if you look at the charge. No one is charging them for speaking up, and whichever way you look at it, conditions of the permit were broken and a clear disruption and nuisance to the YMCA event occurred. The case also revolves on whether Mr Chia is empowered by law to revoke the permit. I believe Sections 4(5), 5, 6 (1) and 42 (1) of the Park and Trees Act (Chapter 216) make this clear. And under the Regulations and conditions of the permit, he can cancel or revoke the protest and there's no exclusive use of Hong Lim Park. The only question is under Section 6 (2) whether he properly identified himself. I think he did and the presence of Police Officers underscores this. Furthermore, the Police are similarly entitled to enforce the conditions under the said Act.
This is not like the Worker's Party's on-going case over permits for trade fairs. They are a political body and also a Town Council, there are questions of Law that can be answered and serve as a precedent for the future. This is a criminal case, albeit a very minor one (which they should be relieved, it could have been unlawful assembly) and revolves directly at their actions and refusal to comply. Ms Han stupidly refused to accept any other version other than that her flawed understanding of the Law was correct. It's her fault and the fault of the others including Roy for stupidly following her.
For the moment, the smokescreen is to use The Real Singapore and others to advertise his POSBank savings account number for donations. Maybe he realises people will start to ask about that excess money from his earlier donation drive.
You cannot always go crying to the public claiming it's a fix up and the PAP is all out to get you, when you always had a chance to walk away and live to fight another day. You cannot say you wrong one day and then the next, deny it. You cannot openly defy the Police and cry foul when you are charged. And most of all, you cannot refuse to work and then go round asking the public to donate to fund your activities and pay your bills, fees, fines and penalties, every time you purposely invite trouble. Unless of course, you always want to be the Looney Fringe, then this will go on and on, until people finally wise up to your antics and stop donating.
(You can read my previous write up on this matter below, which I believe show a clear picture of their actions since 'Hecklegate.')