THREE BRAVE LAWYERS STEP FORWARD TO DEFEND AMOS YEE PRO BONO

The 16-year-old Amos Yee was back in court today (21 Apr) for a bail review. He had been in remand since last Friday (17 Apr), after no bail was posted for him following a pre-trial conference that day.

Amos appeared in court handcuffed just after 4pm, and looked calm.

Three lawyers, Alfred Dodwell, Chong Jia Hao and Ervin Tan, have stepped forward to tell the court that they would be acting for Amos on pro-bono. Mr Dodwell said a bailor was on the way to help bail Amos out.

Amos’ parents as well as few other members of the public were also in court. Those who were in court today said that they were there to show moral support for the teen.

Amos was arrested on 29 Mar and charged on 31 Mar, after posting a video he had uploaded to YouTube, that celebrated the death of Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. The 8-minute-long video included remarks about Christianity that some people found insensitive.

The 3 charges against Amos were under Section 298 and Section 292(1)(a) of the Penal Code, as well as Section 4(1)(b) of the Protection from Harassment Act:

Penal Code

Uttering words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious or racial feelings of any person

298. Whoever, with deliberate intention of wounding the religious or racial feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person, or makes any gesture in the sight of that person, or places any object in the sight of that person, or causes any matter however represented to be seen or heard by that person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years, or with fine, or with both.

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Sale of obscene books, etc.

292. (1) Whoever -
(a) sells, lets to hire, distributes, transmits by electronic means, publicly exhibits or in any manner puts into circulation, or for purposes of sale, hire, distribution, transmission, public exhibition or circulation, makes, produces, or has in his possession any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, drawing, painting, representation or figure, or any other obscene object whatsoever;

shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 months, or with fine, or with both.

Protection from Harassment Act (2014)

Harassment, alarm or distress

4. (1) No person shall by any means -
(a) use any threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour; or
(b) make any threatening, abusive or insulting communication,
which is heard, seen or otherwise perceived by any person (referred to for the purposes of this section as the victim) likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.

(2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and, subject to section 8, shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000.

For the Protection from Harassment Act charge, Amos’ video allegedly “contained remarks about Mr Lee Kuan Yew which was intended to be heard and seen by persons likely to be distressed” by the clip, according to the charge sheet. The video, called “Lee Kuan Yew Is Finally Dead!”, had been viewed more than 680,000 times before it was taken down.

His arrest has also made global headlines.

One person who was upset with the teenager for creating the video is Telok Blangah grassroots leader Jason Tan. In a Facebook post, Mr Tan threatened to cut off the teenager’s penis and “put it in his mouth” (http://www.allsingaporestuff.com/article/grassroots-leader-threaten-cast...):

A letter was subsequently sent to the People’s Association (PA), which oversees all grassroots organisations in Singapore, about Mr Tan’s posting. There has been no response from the PA thus far and Mr Tan has since deleted his Facebook page.

The pre-trial conference has been now set on 30 Apr.

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