By Terry Xu
After three months of investigations, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has officially commenced legal proceedings in the High Court against cartoonist Leslie Chew on Thursday, for contempt of court by scandalising the judiciary of Singapore through his published cartoons.
37 years old Leslie Chew is the person behind the cartoon strip, Demon-cratic Singapore, where he draws satire cartoons in a setting which he refers as an entirely imaginary country.
On 25th July 2013 in their published press statement, AGC said that the legal proceedings that have just been commenced against Leslie Chew in connection with his publication of various comics as part of the comic series “Demon-cratic Singapore”, are aimed at protecting the administration of justice in the Republic of Singapore and to uphold the integrity of one of Singapore’s key institutions.
AGC has earlier applied to the Judge-in-Chambers for the Court’s permission to apply for the order of committal as required by the Rules of Court. The application was heard before a Judge-in-Chambers on Tuesday 23rd July 2013, which was made in connection with five comics published by Leslie Chew in his facebook fanpage.
After having heard the submissions from AGC on Tuesday, the High Court granted AGC permission to apply for the order of committal based on 4 out of the 5 comics, which Leslie Chew published on 4 separate dates, 20 July 2011, 3 January 2012, 5 January 2012 and 16 June 2012.
The fifth comic which was not granted the order of committal is a comic strip entitled “Eliminating the thorn first…“, published on 14th December 2012. This is also the comic which AGC had earlier served a letter of demand requesting the comic to be taken down. However Leslie refused to do so on the ground that he had already placed disclaimers for his cartoons which say the portrayals in them are purely “fictional”.
The order of committal was then served on Leslie Chew together with the other documents prescribed by the Rules of Court on Thursday afternoon, 25th July 2013.
The committal application has been fixed for hearing before the High Court on 12 August 2013.
Earlier on 19th April 2013, Leslie Chew was called in for investigation over alleged sedition by the comic he published on his facebook fanpage. (link)
He was held in custody and questioned over the comic strip entitled ” “Malay population… Deliberately suppressed by a racist government.””, and was then released two days later on Sunday after posting bail. His hand-phone, computer and hard disk were all confiscated by the police. He was also asked to surrender his passport to the police at the Cantonment Police complex. (View the image by Leslie on his ordeal)