Sam Schwartz and the police, parts 1 and 2

What recourse is open to you when one fine day, the police sends you a formal WARNING over an offence you never committed? What happened to due process and the presumption of innocence? Sam Schwartz was falsely accused of running a massage parlour. That’s part 1.

Before that, his club was raided, he himself was tackled to the ground by police officers and falsely accused of biting someone. He refused the plea bargain offered because he wanted his day in court. Part 2.

17 Responses to “Sam Schwartz and the police, parts 1 and 2”

  1. 1 Lee Chee Wai 15 October 2009 at 04:10

    I am confused.

    If the charges were possession of uncensored DVDs and obscene DVDs, why wasn’t there a search warrant issued for entering the premise to seek the items?

    Was this a raid seeking a crime to be found? I had always believed that evidence for a possible crime forms the basis for a raid or police action.

    My understanding of how the process works is based on the recent David Letterman extortion case. The New York police had to ask Letterman’s lawyer to set up a meeting with the would-be extortionist to ascertain the latter was actually being serious before they would proceed to set up a sting operation to catch him in the act of actually carrying out the extortion.

  2. 2 Teck Soon 15 October 2009 at 05:59

    If a video exists showing police officers knocking someone to the ground resulting in bodily harm, then the public prosecutor should review it and, if evidence exists, charge the police officers for their criminal behaviour. Why have our public prosecutors not acted on this? Are they fulfilling their obligations as public servants?

    • 3 Vic 17 October 2009 at 19:34

      Dear Sam,
      The police officer that assaulted you should received the right punishment this doesnt mean that the police have special treatment or they are being well covered and do not take responsibilities when they are in wrong and made use of their power. Just bite them until they know that we are not always the loser in front of the law. We have our rights.


  3. 4 Desmond 15 October 2009 at 10:41

    Oh please lah. The Singapore police. What I can say is what my grandmother (bless her soul said), “never trust them”. These are people who have power and are not kept in check by anyone. So they go about thinking they own the earth. In time, the trust between Singaporeans and police will be eroded away, even now more and more Singaporeans don’t trust them.

  4. 5 Marc 15 October 2009 at 10:53

    Totally absurd, yet that is not about to change as it gives such an unfair advantage to the police forces, e.g.:

    – Person did not commit a crime but they want to keep a bad record for future use: Issue a warning

    – Person did commit a crime but the investigation was botched: Issue a warning

    – Person did commit a crime but is well connected: Quietly issue a warning

  5. 6 nevin 15 October 2009 at 11:01

    re part 1: the letter states “shall be liable on conviction”, so the word “shall” is not improperly used because it is qualified by the words “on conviction.” If you read the letter carefully the use of the word shall does not in fact lead to the conclusion that being charged will lead to a penalty. What the phrase means is that upon conviction, you will definitely be liable, so liability is contingent on conviction.

  6. 7 tk 15 October 2009 at 14:46

    i have the same question as lee chee wai – don’t the police in singapore need a warrant issued by a judge, with reasonable grounds for suspicion, before conducting a raid?

  7. 8 Seymour Butts 15 October 2009 at 18:41

    Nevin is correct in his interpretation of “on conviction”, but the confusion is caused as the writer of the letter should have used the subjunctive “would be liable upon conviction”.

    If the raid was unlawful, I think Sam normally would have to have raised this as part of his defence in the trial, to challenge any evidence obtained illegally; as he pleaded guilty to one of the charges, I think that’s the end of it so far as he’s concerned.

    As to referring to other offences in the letter of warning, I could be wrong, but common sense suggests that if these were disclosed in the statement, they should have been charged in the first place, before the trial. If the prosecution decided not to include them (assuming there is evidence of them) but to proceed with more serious charges, and failed, they cannot then charge him with less serious offences that they could have filed in the first place and included in the trial. That would be an abuse of process and a serious waste of court time and resources involving a second trial going over the same ground.

    It’s very shocking that the Defence does not get copies of prosecution statements though, how is a person supposed to know the case he has to answer and prepare a proper defence?

    I get the impression that this whole exchange may just be with a clerk out of his depth, who has been told to close the file, but maybe there was some unresolved query on it and this letter was the suggested/standard way to finalise it.

    As a warning is not a judicial process, it certainly should not go on a criminal record or be passed on to any one else. Maybe a letter to the A-G’s office would clarify the whole thing?

    Presumably there is some sort of police complaints’ procedure for the investigation of the incident? Where an elderly person is knocked down by a police officer and ends up in hospital, I would expect, in a perfect world, there to be some sort of automatic referral/investigation/ disciplinary procedure.

    It may also be open to Sam to pursue a civil case against the person who assaulted him, and to get a Court Order for all the video and statements to be disclosed as a part of those proceedings. No doubt his lawyer has been through any such options with him.

  8. 9 Anonymous 16 October 2009 at 01:13

    Think there is a typo error for the date in “Part 2: The raid. At about 10 p.m. on Friday, 25 April 2009”. 2008 not 2009?

  9. 10 yawningbread 16 October 2009 at 01:44

    Anon – thanks for pointing out the typo. Yes, it should be 2008. I have corrected it.

  10. 11 yawningbread 16 October 2009 at 01:56

    Nevin, Seymour Butts – on a second look, you’re both correct. I have removed my side comment.

  11. 12 Vic 17 October 2009 at 19:39

    If wanna to raid rather they go Geylang and raid there are so many illegal foreign “seller” there and so many activities there. You pay for the licence fees and all kinds of tax yet kana raid.

  12. 13 jem 18 October 2009 at 18:37

    Biting seems to be the favourite false charge tactic used by our police. I remember they also used the same tactic on Chee Siok Chin.

  13. 14 KAM 19 October 2009 at 15:16

    Dear Au,

    This is the main reason why I did not join in the police force nor want to partake in any legal authorities in Singapore. The rot is there and it will continue to rot.

    The raid which you described is totally believeable and it does not surprise me. If I were the stormtroopers, and being a Singaporean, I may do even more nasty things. The DVDs unfortunately were found on the premises, and I can even believe these raids usually have some back-up plans whereby these bast.ards will plant evidence in case they found none.
    Singapore police, army and PAP dogs are really what they are, DOGS.

    I applaud your quest to rid or reduce this society of such pests, but I fear it is a long uphill task.

    I enjoy (rather felt angry too) your articles of such.
    BTW, what does One-Seven offer? Just Sauna?

  14. 15 gambit 20 October 2009 at 18:38

    omg this sort of backhanded homophobe policing makes me sick. i hope your friend is doing well.

  15. 16 dyno 21 October 2009 at 07:46

    It’s all reminiscent of what the police used to do in western countries decades ago and a sad reminder of how far behind we are (if any reminder is needed).

  16. 17 FYI 25 October 2009 at 11:13

    Running a gay sauna in Singapore? I wouldn’t trust the police at all. They have all the power and the owner has none.

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