"Meanwhile, we would remind all parties that statements made by members of the public would be sub judice contempt, if the statements are calculated to affect the minds of the courts hearing the case, the minds of parties who are concerned in the case itself, or if they amount to public pre-judgment of the case, and there is a real risk of prejudice."
The public declarations of City Harvest Church (CHC) stalwart Chew Eng Han, who decided to leave the church after 17 years of service - in his words, "be it in the property search, the crossover, or the reputation of the leadership" - puts a new perspective on the legality. Let the lawyers throw some light on this.
Chew is not just a disgrunted member of the church. He happens to to one of 6 CHC leaders charged with conspiring to cheat by way of sham investments. Court hearings in the second day of the trial in May had already identified Chew as the one who, as investment manager, instructed CHC's finance manager to adjust the interest rate for a "special opportunity fund" to make the numbers match. As the director of AMAC Capital Partners, Chew could be fingered as the architect of the $11.4 million bond investment.
Chew's disclosures are quite specific, making reference to subjects like clandestine 4 1/2 hour meetings the church board may not be apprised of. If these are not fresh inputs to the court officials, it would be difficult to argue they will not "affect the minds of the courts hearing the case" or "the minds of parties who are concerned in the case itself". Even if deemed not amountable to public pre-judgement, it still presents a serious issue of prejudice in the case. One thing's clear, it is one hell of a teaser for part two of the trial due to resume in August.
Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee on the Damascus Road, was struck down by a blinding light, brighter than the noonday sun, when he heard a voice saying: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" As the sunday school story goes, Saul then becomes Paul, the hated tax collector becomes a revered faithful disciple. The sun did come out on Saturday, and PSI reading was 36 this morning. Maybe miracles still exist. Even the politicians have stopped quibbling about the haze.