AGC versus me, the 2013 round

This is a diary of the case in which the Attorney-General’s Chambers accused me of “scandalising the judiciary”, to make it easier for friends to follow what’s going on. As with court cases, the technical details can sometimes be hard to grasp; I will try to make it digestible here. Since this has a diary format, from time to time, I will be adding to this, unlike other essays on this site which generally are finished by publication date.

Scroll down for the latest updates.

1. Monday, 25 November 2013

Around 9 or 10pm, I check my email and see a request by Bloomberg for comment on the AGC’s case against me. I have no idea what they’re referring to. I do not reply. Soon after, a reporter from Today newspaper called asking for comment too. This is real, I finally tell myself, but decline to comment to Today.

I search the AGC website and see no press release, but I see something in Facebook that links to Straits Times Breaking News which gives me a clue as to which articles the AGC is taking issue with.

I call my lawyers; they too had no idea about the new development. But they did a quick check and called back to inform me that the AGC has an “ex-parte” hearing Tuesday morning, in which they will seek “leave” from the High Court to press charges against me. “Ex-parte” means without the other party (me or my lawyers) present.

2. Tuesday, 26 November 2013

My lawyers show up at court and ask that the “ex-parte” hearing be converted (I’m not sure if this is the correct technical term) into an “inter-partes” hearing, in which both sides are represented. The hope is that they can object even at this stage and argue that the AGC’s application for “leave” should not be granted. The judge adjourns the hearing, asking lawyers to return on Wednesday morning with arguments for and against conversion to an “inter-partes” hearing.

I am told that in court the AGC was represented by the Deputy Chief Prosecutor, the No. 3 ranked officer after the Attorney-General and the Chief Prosecutor. What’s the (political) significance of this? Can’t figure out.

I still have not received any communication from the AGC.

A websearch reveals that  in early 2013, the British parliament “abolish[ed]  ‘scandalising the judiciary ‘ or  ‘scandalising the court ‘ as a form of contempt of court under common law. The offence has not been prosecuted since 1931, although it had been considered for use in 1999.” (Source: Wikipedia) through Section 28 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which received royal assent on 25 April 2013. See also the Law Commission’s report prior to passage of the bill. During the debate in the House of Lords in December 2012, all the Lords who spoke were in favour of abolition.

I tell myself I have to re-read Tey Tsun Hang’s chapter on this topic. But where have I put the book?

3. Wednesday, 27 November 2013

After hearing arguments, the judge allowed an ex-parte hearing to proceed. My lawyers are given watching briefs, i.e. they can observe but have no right to speak. The judge decides to grant leave on one of the two articles in which the AGC alleges scandalised the judiciary — 377 wheels come off Supreme Court’s best-laid plans — but refuses to grant leave over the other article — Church sacks employee and sues government — on one ground right, on another ground wrong.

The threshold for granting leave is extremely low. The AGC only needs to make out a prima facie case. They failed to do so with the latter article.

4. Thursday, 28 November 2013

I have come to know that several people are keen on raising funds to help defray my costs. I have been unable to tell those who ask what my estimated costs will be, but I estimate that just retaining my own lawyers alone can easily be in the five digits. I am grateful for the offers and the efforts being made, and I immediately feel a responsibility to be transparent about the intended uses of any donations received. So, even before the first cent rolls in (if any), let me declare this: All monies will go into costs associated with this charge against me. In the event that there should be a surplus, that surplus will be donated to my two favourite causes in equal measure: Pink Dot and Transient Workers Count Too.

5. Monday, 2 December 2013

As of close of working day, no papers from the AGC have yet been served on me. However, my lawyers inform me that a pre-trial conference has been fixed for Wednesday, 18 December 2013.  I don’t have to be present.

I am reading the sentencing decision (among other papers) from Alan Shadrake’s case. I see the judge saying this:

To constitute contempt by scandalising, a publication had to not only pose a real risk of undermining public confidence in the administration of justice; it had to also fall outside the ambit of fair criticism, meaning that it was either made without rational basis, made without a honest and genuine belief as to its truth, or made in abusive language.

However I also see that the courts have recently said imprisonment should be the norm if anyone is found guilty of scandalising the judiciary. Fines won’t be enough.

6. Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) issued a press statement today saying that they have “filed an application in respect of the second article to the Court of Appeal, seeking leave to proceed against Au for contempt of court.” This application would in effect seek to overturn High Court Justice Belinda Ang’s denial of leave (on 27 November 2013) to proceed on the article Church sacks employee and sues government — on one ground right, on another ground wrong. Like before, the AGC is seeking an ex-parte hearing, which means a court hearing in which neither I nor my lawyers would be permitted to make arguments.

My lawyers point out that the AGC’s application was filed out of time, i.e. filed later than the seven days allowed. The AGC corrected the date.

7. Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The pre-trial conference mentioned in section 5 above, fixed for today, is postponed. Since the status of the ‘Church sacks employee’ article is unclear — the AGC seeking leave from the Court of Appeal to reinstate this article for proceeding against me — it doesn’t make any sense to hold a pre-trial conference until this is first sorted out. We need to know whether the trial is over one article or two.

8. Friday, 3 January 2014

I am filing an application to the Court of Appeal for my lawyers to be present and to speak at the Court of Appeal hearing mentioned above in section 6, in which the AGC will ask the Court of Appeal to overturn Justice Belinda Ang’s denial of leave for the ‘Church sacks employee’ article. In effect, my application will ask the Court of Appeal to convert the AGC’s requested-for ex-parte hearing into an inter-partes hearing.

9. Friday, 28 February 2014

I issued the following statement to the media:

At the Court of Appeal today, the court ruled that there was no valid application from the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) for the court to hear, because of a procedural blunder by the AGC. I am happy that the Court so thoroughly vetted the purported application and ruled as it did.

However, the mistake by the AGC that resulted in today’s outcome also meant that I and my lawyers Peter Low and Choo Zheng Xi had incurred time and expense in preparing our response. Unfortunately, the Court also decided that since there was no proper application before it, the Court could not award me costs as well.

In short, my lawyers and I have incurred costs as a result of the AGC’s procedural blunder.

Background: In the first week of December 2013, the AGC made an application to review the 28 November 2013 decision by Justice Belinda Ang who refused to grant leave to proceed over the article Church sacks employee and sues government — on one ground right, on another ground wrong. The AGC moved for a ex-parte hearing on this. Through my lawyers I made an application to make this review an inter-partes hearing, i.e. a hearing in which my lawyers will get a chance to speak to contest the AGC’s application to reverse Justice Belinda Ang’s decision. Today’s hearing in the Court of Appeal was to hear the AGC’s application, but it turns out that the Court of Appeal found the AGC’s application to be procedurally flawed. My own application was thus moot and not heard.

10. Wednesday, 5 March 2014

My lawyers attended a pre-trial conference today, to take stock of proceedings in relation to the first article (“377 wheels”).
The AGC confirmed that they intend to appeal Justice Belinda Ang’s refusal to grant leave re the second article (“Church sacks employee”). As a first step, they will be applying for an extension of time to file their Notice of Appeal to the Court of Appeal — this they will do within the next week.
Under the circumstances, no firm dates can be set for proceeding on the first article, since the status of the second is still unclear.
My lawyers also advised that after the AGC has applied for an extension of time, there will be a hearing at the Court of Appeal whether to grant that extension. If the Court of Appeal does not grant it, I guess that would be the end of it (re the second article), and we will move on to another pre-trial conference regarding the first article (now rescheduled to  19 March).  But if the Court grants extension of time, then the 19 March pre-trial conference (re first article) will be moot while the Notice of Appeal (re second article) is formally filed.
Then Justice Belinda Ang will have to give the written grounds of her decision not to grant leave over the second article. This will take time. Only after she has done so can there be a hearing at the Court of Appeal over the substantive issues of whether Ang was right to refuse leave, or whether the Court of Appeal should overturn her decision. Should it reach this point, the AGC needs only to show that there is a prima facie case to cite me for contempt of court over that article.
I figure it is only when the status of the second article is conclusively determined, will we get to the real issue. This could be as early as a few weeks from now or months away.

67 Responses to “AGC versus me, the 2013 round”


  1. 1 Doya 27 November 2013 at 13:02

    The bullying continues…

    By the way, the “ex-parte” hearing sought by AGC in the first instance referred to is without the presence of the other party, not with the presence as alluded to by Alex. What Alex’s lawyer subsequently sought was for it to be heard “inter-parte” (both parties present).

    You have our support Alex.

    [Thanks for pointing out the typo. Now corrected -- Yawningbread]

  2. 2 nepenthes 27 November 2013 at 13:14

    A typo:
    “Ex-parte” means with the other party (me or my lawyers) present.
    Should be “without”.

    [Thanks for pointing out the typo. Now corrected -- Yawningbread]

  3. 3 paul 27 November 2013 at 14:19

    “ex parte” means without your lawyers present. i.e., only the AG will appear before the judge and argue its case, so it is a completely one-sided affair.

    [Thanks for pointing out the typo. Now corrected -- Yawningbread]

  4. 4 Jason 27 November 2013 at 14:58

    Dr. Cherian George is fast to comment in this issue…. http://journalism.sg/2013/11/26/why-alex-au-deserves-a-break/

  5. 5 yuen 27 November 2013 at 15:00

    > “Ex-parte” means with the other party (me or my lawyers) present.

    I assume you meant “without” not “with” [Yes, a typo on my part, now corrected, thanks -- Yawningbread]

    > AGC was represented by the Deputy Chief Prosecutor, the No. 3 ranked officer after the Attorney-General and the Chief Prosecutor. What’s the (political) significance of this?

    I assume you know Eleanor Wong personally; since she was Deputy Public Prosecutor many years ago, she would understand the pecking order of the chambers and what level counsel is appropriate for a particular case

  6. 6 mmmm 27 November 2013 at 16:21

    A David vs Goliath. All the best to you, Alex.

  7. 8 Anon mBnb 27 November 2013 at 17:15

    Alex,

    This is not something unexpected from the AGC especially since I am sure your articles are monitored very closely. Non the less it is still regrettable that it has to happen to you. I do feel, and I am sure many will agree, that the charge/s is uncalled for. Thanks for keeping us posted and I wish you best of luck. Many will be following this closely.

    The revelation that the AGC has the discretion to press charges against someone even without informing the involved party until possibly, the very last moment and how the police or prosecutor can deny someone his legal council until the hearing in court, are both causes for worry.

    Let us see how things will work out.

  8. 9 Sin Pariah 27 November 2013 at 19:02

    What, if any, would constitute “fair comment” under the laws of Singapore?

    Perhaps, the Law Society or the Atty-General’s Chambers should run free public courses to educate citizen bloggers on what is “fair comment” and what else would hypothetically rankle them to no end?

    Better for the authorities to be proactive (rather than reactive), eh?

    • 10 yawningbread 27 November 2013 at 22:12

      “Fair comment” has not been allowed as a defence against charges of Scandalising the Courts; it is only allowed in Defamation suits. “Fair criticism” is theoretically allowed, according to Tey Tsun Hang in his book “Legal Consensus: Supreme Executive, Supine Jurisprudence, Suppliant Profession of Singapore” but no clear distinction has been made between Comment and Criticism, and in any case, no case has ever succeeded on the ground of Fair Criticism.

      • 11 Tan Tai Wei 27 November 2013 at 23:12

        Not surprising that “no case has ever succeeded on the ground of Fair Criticism”. For should one “criticize” the courts for such contemptuous conduct as being biased, and one’s criticism is proven to be “fair”, then the courts are proven to be indeed contemptible, ie. one’s criticism is proven to be contemptuous of the courts!

  9. 12 Yeoh Lian Chuan 27 November 2013 at 19:05

    As a point of clarification, the Chief Prosecutor is not the 2nd (or even the 3rd) ranking official in AGC. The Solicitor-General and Deputy Solicitor-General rank after AG. Also there are several “Chief Prosecutors” in AGC. They are essentially division heads …

  10. 13 Thor 27 November 2013 at 21:07

    Dear YB,

    When I first read of this, I felt very down. I return again to what I said before. We get the government we deserve. If the majority are content and keep silent as yet another is destroyed/demonised then perhaps we do not deserve your commentary. This is civic society. We care enough to come out and say what we feel, even though its not the safe option. In my heart, I was thinking perhaps indeed its time to look for another land. This is my home; my family and my roots are here. But perhaps the country does not want people like us. There are two options to react to this; leave or even more people join YB in starting blogs and commenting. Let a hundred flowers bloom. The Joaquim revolution.

    YB, we are behind you. I am sure many of us will pitch in for the legal costs. I think as a nation we are tired of this tactic of bankrupting your opponents when you are morally and ethically bankrupt yourself.

    Keep smiling.

    Thor

  11. 14 Kim Song 27 November 2013 at 22:03

    Dear Alex, I wish to pass to you Tsun Hang Tey book. where is your office?

  12. 18 Rabbit 27 November 2013 at 23:02

    Don’t worry. Singaporeans haven’t been much proud of PAP since GE2011 and all the promises about “hearing our voices” is nothing more than curtailing it further, the list is endless with Population white paper to match. No amount of wet handkerchief from PAP ministers, this GE2016, will make us believe they are truly genuine or repentant. The truth are before our very eyes in this blog alone.

  13. 19 Joachim Cuntz 28 November 2013 at 00:48

    I resent Kim Song’s mentioning of Alex Au’s persecution with Prof Tey’s persecution in the same breath,

    Unlike Alex Au who has, to the best of knowledge, conducted himself honourably, Prof Tey has not. Prof Tey had sexual relationship with a student under his direct supervision – something he reasonably ought to have known is a conflict of interest. He also took advantage of the relationship by asking her to pay for meals and gifts, as reported in the mainstream media and corroborated by many sources which were displayed in Court.

    Prof tey got what he deserved and I have no sympathy. Alex on the other hand has been dealt a rough hand. I feel the AGC has been overzealous in applying contempt charge to his articles, but I cannot comment any further as the case is now before the Courts.

    • 20 Lye Khuen Way 28 November 2013 at 07:38

      Now, now. Has Alex been charged yet ? If not, there is nothing before the Courts. Only a one-sided Hearing to proceed . Pardon my layman understanding .
      Of course, we each gave our opinion . I still believe the Prof was singled out because of his book and that is gross injustice.

    • 21 Ris Sand 28 November 2013 at 09:32

      In fact, in the case of prof Tey, it’s a worse form of persecution. While he’s involved in an affair with an adult student, that doesn’t constitute a crime by law. So the state decided use the corruption charges to drag him through the mud in the process. What Singaporeans don’t know is that at the end of each court session, a communication manager from the AGC would brief the reporters. That’s just weird. And at the end of the day, the court has not heard any proof of the student’s marks tempered with. And it’s simply because the prof published that book mentioned above.

  14. 22 Anon BDsW 28 November 2013 at 04:53

    YB, a point for your consideration – would your current journal of events expose you to sub-judice charges?

    I remember one previous encounter in which you were “deemed to have agreed with comments left on your website”, as you moderated the said comments before publication. Thus current and future comments here could be ammo for more trouble.

    I don’t want give funny ideas to others, so please don’t allow this comment if you decide it’s better not to. One battle at the time.

    The sub-judice angle should have been explored, when war-gaming your response(s). At least I hope this was thought through!

    Dealing with difficult children can be trying. Don’t let your buttons be pushed.

    Best of luck.

  15. 23 Jimmy Wong 28 November 2013 at 09:19

    Joachim Cuntz
    Perhaps you need to read the below links. There are several inter plays between state parties [amended by YB] and our 154 media that collaborate to silent the dissent and very oftens using different tactics on different targets.

    Shameful and Despicable CPIB and Its Chief Eric Tan

    http://gingerleepap.blogspot.sg/2013/10/shameful-and-despicable-cpib-and-its.html

    http://trialoftsunhang.blogspot.sg/

    Prof Michael D Barr clearly stated in his academic article that the fate of Prof Tey Tsun Hang, Prof Cherian George and Mr Leslie Chew are the same as this is part of the crack down of dissent by the invisible hand.

    Location: Chulalongkorn University Bangkok
    Date: 22 to 23 Aug 2013
    SINGAPORE THE ORDINARY: THE DECLINE OF SINGAPORE EXCEPTIONALISM
    Michael D. Barr
    School of International Studies, Flinders University

    Quote:
    With the myth of Singapore Inc. as the perfect technocracy machine in tatters, the ruling elite needs a new narrative that accepts its status as being ordinary, not extraordinary. It has not yet seriously faced up to this reality. Instead it is trying to dampen down criticism by controlling information and intimidating critics, whether they be exalted scholars like Tsun Hang Tey and Cherian George, or humble cartoonists like Leslie Chew (Yahoo! News, 28 May 2013; The Diplomat, 8 March 2013; Yahoo News, 23 April 2013). Insofar as the government is working towards a considered, strategic response, it seems to be based as much upon suppressing criticism and reasserting control over public comment as it is with fixing problems: hence its proposed „licence‟ and S$50,000 bond (approximately US$40,000) for bloggers and media internet services who provide news or commentary on Singapore affairs (Asia Sentinel, 30 May 2013).
    Unquote:

    http://www.icird.org/publications?start=200

    feel free to download and read it and understand the dirty tactics at play

  16. 24 Tan Tai Wei 28 November 2013 at 09:54

    One of your two postings has been judged by the honourable Judge to be a non-issue, which in fact means that the AGC has exaggerated the case one of only two counts (50%?). In the normal course of things, wouldn’t the AGC give the benefit of doubt to such a public commentor as yourself where there are doubts? But here, the AG seems to have gone out of his way not to do so! And so, doesn’t this cast a somewhat similar question over his objections to your other posting?

  17. 25 Soo Koon 28 November 2013 at 10:56

    Even Yahoo dare not report on your case… Sigh

    • 26 Thor 28 November 2013 at 17:50

      Actually they did initially. Then it disappeared. Another interesting fact, you cannot access comments for yahoo on handphones.

  18. 27 DP 28 November 2013 at 11:23

    Its really sad that the AGC or for that matter the Prime Minister does not realise that their reaction to criticism scandalises the judiciary far worst than any citizen can do. It is nothing but outright bullying and harassment to silence any critical voice. Instead of defending and justifying its action our government deems fit to instill fear in citizens. It’s a sad day, but having said that, I will definitely contribute towards your just cause.

  19. 28 SN 28 November 2013 at 13:23

    Dear Alex,

    I am no millionaire, but I will be happy to contribute to the fund-raiser.

    All the best. Keep fighting the good fight.

  20. 29 cephas 28 November 2013 at 14:39

    I am dead tired of PAP office holders who cannot take fair criticism. If they are unwilling to accept public feedback, what recourse do we have?

    If push comes to shove, I will contribute to your case. You are not alone. Singaporeans have had enough of the bullying of common citizens and political opponents of the PAP who are trying to make this a better place to live in.

  21. 30 Cindy Lee 28 November 2013 at 15:13

    Dear Alex
    Quote:
    I am told that in court the AGC was represented by the Deputy Chief Prosecutor, the No. 3 ranked officer after the Attorney-General and the Chief Prosecutor. What’s the (political) significance of this? Can’t figure out.
    Unquote:

    this sounds very fishy. as I understand Prof Tey was trialed by Chief District Judge. It is very seldom for Singaporeans to see CDJ in action other than SMRT COI which is of public interest.

    Why you are charged by AGC No. 3?

    In my heart we believe it is po&*)&*(&ly motivated but we cant say it out loud as you and I will be in trouble too.

  22. 31 Andrew Johnson 28 November 2013 at 16:58

    I’m so sorry (and angry) to hear about this. Please let us know how we can donate. I’ll also make sure the YNC faculty are all very aware of your case and I’ll see what can be done here.

    • 32 yuen 28 November 2013 at 22:51

      I assume YNC means “Yale NUS College”? when the Yale faculty meeting passed a resolution on this issue, the main concern was freedom to undertake academic research and debate, but 377c was one of the things mentioned in the online discussions leading up to the meeting

  23. 33 Bernard Bate 28 November 2013 at 17:41

    Alvin, I’m very sorry to hear this news. LIke my colleague Andrew at Yale-NUS College – where your visit earlier in the semester made a huge impression on our students – I’ll follow your account of what goes on here, reblog to my students and colleagues, and bear witness to these events as they unfold. Barney

  24. 34 Kai 28 November 2013 at 18:19

    Great to hear that people will be organizing a fundraising. Please release the details as soon as possible so we can all start to pitch in for your legal costs. Very heartened to hear that any surplus will go to support Pink Dot and TWC2, two very worthy causes. Should you go to prison — not that you will — you could be martyred for maximum amplification effect. That’s a possible maximum of four causes in one! Good deal!! I will definitely contribute generously for so many good causes all at once. :) Best wishes and best of luck. :D

  25. 35 vanguy79 28 November 2013 at 19:06

    Hi, I am sorry to hear this case against you (again). Really, this is just cause for internet freedoms being trounced again by politics.

  26. 36 Alex Har 28 November 2013 at 19:35

    Why would any public institution judiciary, the Prime Minister or otherwise be protected aginst public criticism. With their significant influence and command over the media, they should not have problems explaining the matter to the public in a convincing way. I guess that is the role of the many Public Relations and Press Secretaries that they have, all funded by tax payers money. By exercising their power to exclude themselves from public comment and criticism they are only digging a bigger hole in their credibility. People, whether perverse or not would think that they have things to hide.

  27. 37 Sam 28 November 2013 at 21:57

    I too am dead tired of the PAP’s legal bullying. Previously, I used to spoil my votes instead of giving it to the opposition. Now, I will vote “irresponsibly” and give the vote even to a dog if it stands for election against the PAP. I could not believe that I could be forced into giving my vote even to a dog. Sickening.

    • 38 moody 29 November 2013 at 15:17

      You should have given the vote to the dog, if any, long ago , after all, did the dog lose billions and millions of taxpayer’s money compare to those pappies ? Why only choose to support the dog only when you are treated like one by the establishment ? All right, at least you repent.

  28. 39 Rohan Naidu 28 November 2013 at 22:41

    Dear Alex

    I’m a YNC student with whom you had dinner a few weeks ago.

    A good number of us feel strongly about what’s happening to you right now. You are in our thoughts, conversations and in my case, final essays.

    Stay strong. You’re not alone.

    • 41 gentleaura 29 November 2013 at 01:40

      Thanks, Naidu,

      You can help further by publishing your essays on a blog and link to us AFTER you had them assessed.

      I’m pretty sure that they’ll hale get many of my fellow Singaporeans thinking and that YNC is not a bad college after all.

      Thanks for standing with us, who genuinely want change in the system.

      A fellow Singaporean.

  29. 42 V 29 November 2013 at 00:01

    Well the bully boys are at it again. Instead of asking themselves why they are getting hammered on so many fronts they choose to kill the messengers. Your articles are certainly better than many out there, though no less critical. From economists to civil servants, people have posted tough questions. Mention the PAP and our courts and most will sneer. The old will certain remember a certain senior District Judge Michael Khoo, who cleared JBJ of all charges except one and was then thrown back to being a DPP.

    And its not just locals and the thais. As earlier as 2006 this came out in Canada

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/09/business/worldbusiness/09iht-courts.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    [Last sentence taken out. Not wise esp under the circumstances -- YBread]

  30. 43 Singapore Citizen Mr. Teo En Ming (Zhang Enming) 29 November 2013 at 01:11

    Executive Order 2013112701

    Pursuant to the authority vested in me as President of the Federation of the Universe by the Constitution, and Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Universe, and the laws of the Federation of the Universe, I pronounce blogger Alex Au Waipang, of Yawning Bread (http://yawningbread.wordpress.com/), not guilty of contempt of court charges in Singapore. Therefore, Alex Au Waipang is a free man. The government of Singapore must obey this order. (Singapore is a nanoscopic country on Planet Earth in the Solar System in Milky Way galaxy.)

    President Teo En Ming
    Federation of the Universe
    27 November 2013

    http://enmingteo.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/executive-order-2013112701/

  31. 44 Alan Shadrake 29 November 2013 at 07:00

    “I believe the changes in local criminal law have made things advantageous to the prosecution. Though there is a ‘presumption of innocence’ according to our Constitution, the man in the street cannot be blamed if he thinks that he has to prove his innocence in court.

    “The law is lopsided. So many aspects of the criminal law are loaded against the accused. The Constitution says one thing but in practice, it’s different. The courts must also be blamed for this sad state of affairs. They rarely interpret the law in favour of the accused, though I feel things are slowly changing.

    “One day we may still have justice in the true sense of the word. Justice must be compassionate and it must be fair. It must endeavour to seek out the truth. It must balance the rights of the accused and the protection of society.”

    Those are the words of Criminal Defense lawyer Subhas Anandan in ‘The Best I Could’, published by Marshall Cavendish in Singapore in 2009 which, to prove a point, I reprinted in my book Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock.

    I have scanned Supreme Court archives to see if Mr Anandan was prosecuted by the AGC for making these scandalous allegations. Strange to say I couldn’t find any such record.

    Alex – don’t let them cow you into submission! Easy for me to say that but if more Singaporeans stood up to be counted real change will happen. So come out and support local hero Alex Au. They can’t put every decent-minded Singaporea in Changi Prison!

  32. 45 kl 29 November 2013 at 12:45

    I’ll be happy to contribute to your legal fees, Alex. And I’ll ask all my friends and relatives to pitch in too.

  33. 46 a kind of chicken 29 November 2013 at 12:53

    If you have some contact for donation, do put out a link or an address. I for one would be glad to contribute.

    Best wishes.

    • 47 yawningbread 3 December 2013 at 00:47

      Let me be clear about this lest there is misinformation going around. I am not soliciting donations. Some close friends want to help. How they are going about it (if at all they are going about it), I have no idea. The last thing I want is for anybody to fall prey to hucksters claiming to be soliciting donations on my behalf, so I’d be whole lot more comfortable if only my close friends, whom I know well and trust, run with the ball. If you know any of them and they talk to you about their idea, then it’s up to you. If you are not confident that whoever is talking this up isn’t a close friend of mine, please, please be careful.

      A simple test: Does whoever claims to be my close friend even have my number on his mobile phone (not that I am asking you to pass the number around). Does he know much about my years of association with People Like Us? If you mention this person’s name to me, would I recognise it?

      • 48 SN 3 December 2013 at 10:04

        Dear Alex,

        Given that you have a reputation to protect, perhaps you would like to make this note into a proper blog-post?

        I respect your decision not to initiate a fund-raiser. If it ever becomes useful for you to do so, I would be happy to chip in like so many others. (I cannot do as you recommend at present as I am not living in Singapore).

        Regards.

      • 49 Agagooga 6 December 2013 at 11:12

        It would be hard for us to verify if those collecting donations are your close friends

        The easiest way is to have an official donations channel

  34. 50 Yujuan 29 November 2013 at 16:05

    Alex

    Coming back to your blog again, my return being piqued by your excellent work at TWC2. Due to our different views on sexual orientation, I was initially put off by your postings on homosexuality.
    Now my opinion of you have changed course, I’ve come to realise that it’s not right to impose my views on others, everybody has their own right to live life as they like. I apologise if i have had caused you hurt in the past.
    Now the focus is on your unfair treatment by the Judiciary in their persecution of a sincere blogger like you, the Govt’s incessant clamping down on dissent over the net is increasingly deplorable and despicable. It’s another way of sueing a citizen till they go bankcruot. This Govt never change its leopard spots.
    Plod on, many people are behind you, and I would gladly contribute towards a Fund towards your legal battle.
    Just Name us your Bank Account Number for easy money transfer.
    Jia You.

    • 51 yawningbread 3 December 2013 at 00:40

      Considering the numerous (Nigerian and other) scams going around in the internet age, I am not about to leave my bank account number anywhere :)

      But thanks for the thought.

      • 52 yuen 3 December 2013 at 01:50

        the lawyers can set up a legal fund with its own bank account; this would also make it easier to maintain transparency

  35. 53 Bryan 29 November 2013 at 22:36

    Dear Mr Au,

    I understand that you have loads of comments on your blog, so I guess ill just keep it short. My name’s Bryan and I am a member of the HSS. I really do hope that you are able to pull through and succeed in this case. I’m sure something will play out so long as you are fighting for a good cause. Thank you so much for fighting for us (im gay) when others are afraid to do so, do know that there are people out here that support you.

    Our government is no doubt hypocritic pffft free speech….

    Bryan

  36. 54 kam 30 November 2013 at 21:27

    I sympathize withh many here and with Alex.
    One thing is this. What can really be done with this bully?
    Next GE? It will be too late. Alex will be burnt buried and ashes thrown over the seas.
    It is nothing much one can do against this in Singapore.
    We can only applaud those who tried and try.

  37. 55 adrian 1 December 2013 at 12:34

    Hi i know you’re busy with this case right now but I would like your input concerning police harassment in singapore. if any other readers would like to offer their advice do drop me a mail too.

    Best Regards

  38. 56 Puffin 2 December 2013 at 10:22

    Alex, every time this vindictive regime tries to silence you, your fame grows. Courage mon ami!

  39. 57 Russell Heng 3 December 2013 at 23:02

    Hi folks,

    Since the matter of fundraising has been steadily raised, it is necessary to make this announcement.

    A few of us who know Alex and support what he has done for free speech in Singapore, feel strongly that he should not be fighting this alone. We have thus come together as a small group to raise money for a legal defence fund to help Alex meet potential legal cost. We are informally calling ourselves FriendsofYB. Preparations are being made to sort out proper channels for receiving money and to ensure transparency and accountability. Do bear with us. We will post more info on this site as soon as the details are available and at the appropriate time. Please bear with us.

    I am Russell Heng, a friend of Alex since 1993 when we helped form and run the gay support group People Like Us (PLU). We have been through many struggles together and in recent years have devoted our time to working for Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2). A retiree, I am the current President of TWC2 with my term running out in March 2015. Responding to my call for help, Alex has come into TWC2 in 2011 and is now its Vice-President. My fundraising for Alex is however NOT a TWC2 effort. TWC2 has enough other battles to fight.

    I have informed Alex of this fundraising effort. He thanked me and said he should not and would not be involved in what Friendsof YB is doing. I agree. I note that Alex has nominated TWC2 and Pink Dot as the 2 equal beneficiaries of any balance from funds raised to pay his legal bills. FriendsofYB will honour that.

    I will let the other people in this group introduce themselves:

    Dana Lam

    “I have come to know Alex through his commentaries on Yawning Bread and, his contributions to national discussions. I am won over by the intellectual rigor of his commentaries, his courage, and commitment to sharing his views and how he arrives at them. I am taking part in this effort to raise money for Alex’s legal defense because I believe his work at Yawning Bread is an invaluable service to our nation.

    I have been a president of AWARE. But my views and involvement in this effort are entirely my own.”

    Jean Chong

    “I am a core member of People Like Us (PLU) and Co-founder of Sayoni. I’ve known Alex for close to 20 years and he has been a friend, mentor and a source of support in various areas of my work. Through the years, I have been in regular contact with him and watch him take on the voices of those who are powerless and oppressed. The remarkable thing is how he has kept a steady pace through all these years. Many activists grow cynical about change but not Alex. He believes that Singapore will one day be truly free and just. When free speech is threatened we must band together to protect it.

    My involvement in this cause does not represent the views of Sayoni”

    Miak Siew

    “I am Miak Siew and I have known Alex since 1997. He has been instrumental in my growth as an activist and I consider him my mentor, guiding me in my involvement in People Like Us (PLU) and helping me grow in confidence in forming and articulating my own views. Alex’s battle is not just about him – it is about all of us, and our freedom to information, freedom to articulate our views, thoughts and criticisms. He believes that change can happen, and he continues to inspire me and many others to fight for change and to make Singapore an inclusive, open and free society.

    I am the executive pastor of Free Community Church (FCC), but my involvement here is entirely independent and does not represent the views of FCC.”

    One or two other people may join us in the near future. We shall be keeping you posted of new developments. Stay tuned and we look forward to your strong support when it is needed.

    Russell Heng on behalf of FriendsofYB

  40. 58 Vernon Voon 5 December 2013 at 10:36

    Thank you for posting your diary of events regarding this case against you. We will be following and making the government accountable for the actions which are taken on our behalf.

  41. 59 Plumber 7 December 2013 at 10:24

    Alex, can you provide details on how to donate at the end of this article. Though I have retired with no income, I still like to help in my small way.

    • 60 Russell Heng 12 December 2013 at 22:22

      Please bear with us, Plumber. Details of our fundraising effort will be rolled out in due course.

      Russell Heng
      FriendsofYB

  42. 61 MaxChew 8 December 2013 at 20:20

    The politicalwritings blog today has a post titled AA in hot soup. The author is clearly on the side of the AGC criticizing you left right and centre.
    Grateful if AA could asap rebut him in this blog point by point? Thanks.

  43. 62 7homask 9 December 2013 at 13:52

    Hi Russell,

    Please make sure that an international transfer facility is available too – I’m sure there are many expats and foreigners who’d like to contribute.

    Best of luck YB!

  44. 64 Alan 10 December 2013 at 00:15

    The funny thing about this alleged contempt of court is that it is happening right in the midst of the NatCon that they say they need to listen seriously to our feedback. Yet if they have the least sincerity about the NatCon, why can’t they even treat the alleged contempt of court article as an honest commentary equivalent as a valuable feedback that they say they desire from all of us ? So are they also trying to prove to us that the NatCon is only a wayang to begin with ?

    Why didn’t they even rebut the article in the first place ? Yet instead they emphasized that Alex has already been given a chance and I could not help myself thinking they must be very eager to nail Alex by hook or by crook ? Is it right & proper for the AGC office to appear to be so mercenary, I also can’t help thinking myself ? So does it mean that this kind of bullying critics into silence will continue to be the hallmark or modus operandi of the PAP Govt ?

  45. 65 Silvester Goh 10 December 2013 at 08:19

    As a Singaporean I feel we are once again put under the global spotlight, all for the wrong reasons!
    The global press will have a field day covering this; I am embarrassed for my country.
    How can I defend myself, my country when I travel abroad & people pin me down on this?
    An antiquated law for a modern world class country—–its just crazily incongruous, mind boggling, defying logic!

    • 66 Kai 11 December 2013 at 13:22

      “An antiquated law for a modern world class country”??? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! You are talking about Singapore that still operates a barbaric judicial ‘system’ with its HANGING of people by the neck and CANING of people on the bare butts! As a nation and society, Singapore has a mindset that rightly belongs to the 19th century, probably even the middle ages. You SHOULD be not only “embarrassed” but ASHAMED for your country.

      Incidentally, this barbaric mindset in Singapore is fully and starkly illustrated in the fact that NOWHERE IN THE CIVILIZED WORLD can ministers talk about caning people (even “drug mules of subpar IQ”) without batting an eyelid in parliament, as if they were talking about the most routine and mundane matters and completely unaware of the shameful barbarians they are presenting themselves to the world. If this were to occur in a civilized first-world country, they would probably be prosecuted for gross violation of basic human rights or even “crime against humanity”.

      Your conclusion that “its [sic] just crazily incongruous, mind boggling, defying logic!” is however empathically appropriate and (ironically) makes perfect sense.

  46. 67 Alo 28 February 2014 at 20:07

    Alex, I am glad to hear that you have been given a respite from the case. Perhaps you should seek out some donations for your legal costs. I’m not sure if the AGC will pursue this further though, as anything could happen, they could persist. But I wish you all the best.


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For an update of the case against me, please see AGC versus me, the 2013 round.

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