What is there to hide, my dear govt.?Thursday, October 20, 2005
Protesters' court motion challenged
A-G Chambers says action against minister and police chief is 'scandalous, frivolous'
Lee Ching Wern
THE application by the Attorney-General's Chambers to strike out an application filed by three protesters against Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng and Commissioner of Police Khoo Boon Hui was heard yesterday in High Court behind closed doors.
Ms Chee Siok Chin, the sister of Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan, Ms N Gogelavany and Mr Yap Keng Ho were part of a group of four protesters dispersed by police outside the Central Provident Fund Building on Aug 11.
They filed an application in the High Court last month to seek a declaration that Mr Wong and Mr Khoo had acted "in an unlawful and unconstitutional manner" when the group was ordered to disperse for causing a "public nuisance".
The fourth protester, Mr Tan Teck Wee, is not party to the application filed against the Government. In the request to strike out the trio's application, the A-G Chambers described it as "irregular, scandalous, frivolous or vexatious" and "an abuse of the process of the Court".
The A-G Chambers argued that the protesters were "attempting to use the proceedings as a means to their political ends" and the Court should not allow this action to go any further.
It argued that they wrongly named Mr Wong and Mr Khoo as respondents to the legal action. Doing so "creates the impression in the eyes of the public that this action is brought about by the personal actions of the present holders of these offices".
It also said the application was an abuse of the process of court as there must be a "real contest of legal rights" between parties before the court grants a declaration.
The other reasons cited by the A-G Chambers: The trio are not claiming any consequential relief or any legal redress for the alleged wrong they suffered; and the application preempts criminal prosecution.
Mr M Ravi, the lawyer representing the trio, argued that the Constitution clearly states that four or less protesters is lawful and that the police ought to determine how the protesters were a nuisance.
Ms Chee, 39, told reporters after the hearing that the "peaceful protest" was carried out in their personal capacity. According to their affidavit, the trio were standing peacefully with a fourth person, Mr Tan Teck Wee, outside the CPF Building in Robinson Road on Aug 11 when police asked them to leave.
The hearing continues on Friday.
Why does the PAP govt. want the hearing to be held behind the veil of closed court if the action against the minister and police chief is so "irregular, scandalous, frivolous or vexatious"?
Isn’t this a great chance for the PAP govt. to expose these “shameless” people in the open court, in front of all Singaporeans?
I see no reason why the hearing for this case should be held in closed court when even the SDP people want hearing to be conducted in open court. They even post their report on the proceedings on their website.
All these made me ask: “What is there to hide, my dear govt.?”