In a shocking change in tone, lawyer Alfred Dodwell – one of 3 lawyers who represented young Singaporean blogger Amos Yee in his trial – said that Amos Yee’s 50 days stay in remand was not illegal and simply reflected due process of the law.
Mr Alfred Dodwell, who is the managing director at his own law firm Dodwell + CO, was speaking at a discussion on the Singapore Constitution and due process organised by Singapore Management University’s Constitutional Law and Criminal Justice Club as part of its annual Criminal Justice Conference.
During the conference, Mr Dodwell was asked by a attendee whether a person charged with a non-violent crime, and who was unlikely to abscond, should be kept in remand.
Amos spent about 50 days in remand before being sentenced to four weeks’ jail. He was released the day he was sentenced after the punishment was backdated to include his time in remand.
Before that, he was bailed out twice, at $20,000 each time, but breached his bail conditions. When he was bailed out again at $10,000, he missed an interview with a probation officer and went back into remand again.
According to Mr Dodwell: “No one was interested in seeing Amos in remand and that is the truth… What transpired was, whether we agree with the bail conditions or not, they stand and, unless you challenge them and set them aside, which we tried, they remain the conditions he has to abide by and he breached them. Because of that, nobody came forward (to be his bailor) so he had to spend time in remand.”
He added that after he and other lawyers started representing Mr Yee, “the prosecution, prison authorities and police were very cooperative to fast-track us to be able to see Amos.
“(Later) we asked the court to bend over backwards, essentially to give us an expedited trial, and they all assisted us… What transpired was due process at work.”