The trial of the 6 City Harvest Church (CHC) leaders may not be Singapore’s longest running trial, but it is the most expensive trial in the country’s history.
According to a senior lawyer, Foo Cheow Ming, each of the defendants may have to fork out at least $1 million more as the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) has referred the case to the Court of Appeal.
The Straits Times reports that the total lawyers fees for the CHC trial are estimated to cost more than $10 million to date. An additional $1 million per client would push the figure past the $15 million mark.
However, Senior Counsel Thio Shen Yi says that legal costs may be kept down to about $250,000 per party as the case will now be centered around the interpretation of Section 409 of the Penal Code.
4 of the 6 CHC leaders are represented in court by high ranking senior counsel, who typically charge $1,200 or more per hour. A single court appearance by a senior counsel can cost up to $20,000 per day. Only 1 of the CHC leaders, former fund manager Chew Eng Han, has been representing himself without a lawyer since May 2014.
According to Senior Counsel N. Sreenivasan, who represents CHC deputy pastor Tan Ye Peng, some of the accused have already run out of money to pay for their lawyers fees, and admitted that the lawyers are now acting pro-bono as they want to see the case to completion.