The High Court has refused to vary the bail conditions of 16 year-old blogger Amos Yee Pang Sang after he refused the prosecution’s offer to relax certain conditions if he goes for psychiatric counselling.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Hay Hung Chun told Justice Tay Yong Kwang that the prosecution learnt only yesterday that Amos’ mother had taken her son to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) on 2nd April, after he was charged for uploading an obscene image online and content with the intention to wound the religious feelings of Christians.
The court heard that Amos had agreed to see a psychiatrist to prove to the public that he did not have any mental illness, but refused to continue after two sessions at IMH because he felt they were a waste of time.
Defence lawyers Alfred Dodwell and Ervin Tan had sought a reduction of Amos’ S$30,000 bail amount and for him to be allowed to post content online before his trial is completed. The latter condition was too broad and disproportionate, they argued. Amos has been on social media since he was eight and social media engagement is akin to drinking water for the teenager, they said.
But DPP Hay argued that Amos had already breached his bail conditions by making two blog postings while he was out on bail. The prosecution was prepared to agree to a lower bail amount and not to have him report to a police station daily if Amos agreed to go for counselling.
Justice Tay questioned why it was so difficult for Amos to stop blogging temporarily and said the teenager would just have to learn to curb himself.
The judge saw no reason to vary bail conditions after Amos refused to agree to go for psychiatric counselling.
Amos’ mother and several civil society activists were present in court.
Amos’ trial starts tomorrow.