Sixteen year old pint size Amos Yee missed qualifying as a “child” or “young person” by just a few months under Singapore’s complex legal system. He would have been granted anonymity under Singapore laws had he been just 16 and below. And so he is treated as an adult and is to be tried in an adult court even though he is not qualified to vote or even enter into a binding contract.
But even before Amos Yee is tried as an adult, he has already received unreasonable and unnecessary punishment by being led out of his house in handcuffs even though he did not attempt escape. And at the pre trial conference last Friday, he was also handcuffed and led out of Court No. 17 into the holding area for alleged adult offenders. I am told he looked terrified.
Singapore laws are not humane. In fact it is barbaric for a first world country. We still believe in corporal punishment and the death penalty.
In the case of Amos Yee, he is jailed even before he is tried not only because the bail amount of $20,000 is unreasonably high but also because an unnecessary and unjust condition that the bail be posted by his parents was imposed, at least initially. His parents did not want to bail him out and his friends who volunteered to be his bailors left the courthouse after being refused as bailors. It was only after they have left the courthouse that the condition for bail was varied. So poor Amos spent several days among alleged adult offenders. I am told he is banging the wall and going crazy. He is apparently autistic.
Why did the judge impose the condition that only Amos’ parents could stand bail? Amos is entitled to bail as of right because the offences he is being charged with are bailable. The judge has clearly forgotten the purpose for granting bail. Here I am looking at s.94 of the Criminal Procedure Code:
—(1) A police officer or the court may impose such conditions as are necessary when granting bail or releasing the accused on personal bond under section 92 or 93.
(2) The conditions imposed in relation to an accused under subsection (1) may include the following requirements:
(a) to surrender any travel document in his possession;
(b) to surrender to custody or to make himself available for investigations or to attend court on the day and at the time and place appointed for him to do so;
(c) not to commit any offence while released on bail or on personal bond; and
(d) not to interfere with any witness or otherwise obstruct the course of justice whether in relation to himself or any other person.
Conditions for bail can only be imposed to ensure attendance of the accused person and prevent the obstruction of justice and commission of other offences. The choice of bailors is not the concern of the court. The consequence for any bailor if there is a breach of the bail bond is the loss of the bail amount. Whether it is the parents of Amos or his friends will not make a difference. So why did the judge impose the irrelevant and unnecessary condition? Was he creating more obstacles for Amos? Or was it a genuine mistake?
In my opinion, Amos Yee has suffered unnecessarily even before his trial begins. Being handcuffed at the time of arrest and after the pre trial conference and being granted bail with condition, resulting in his remand are wrongs committed by the State. The Attorney General is probably aware of all that is happening to Amos but he is deliberately turning a blind eye and deaf ear to his troubles.
It is terrible how this so called first world country treats its citizens. This is State Terror. It brings us back to the days when Singapore was governed by the British.