Plea not taken by protesters to public nuisance charges

roy and hui hui court

By Terry Xu

Roy Ngerng Yi Ling, 33; Han Hui Hui, 23; and four other Singaporeans were in court this morning to face their charges under the Public Nuisance act (section 290) for their actions at the Hong Lim Park protest on 27th September 2014.

Ms Han and the others took part in a CPF protest event at Hong Lim Park and have been charged by the police for creating public nuisance during the event. Another event was held at Hong Lim Park at the same time by the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA).

The four others who are charged with public nuisance are Goh Aik Huat, 41; Koh Yew Beng, 59, Low Wai Choo, 54 and Chua Siew Leng, 42.

Roy and Ms Han are also facing an additional charge of demonstrating without a valid approval from National Parks (Nparks).

Under the law, those who wish to organise a demonstration in Hong Lim Park must obtain approval from the Commissioner of Parks and Trees.

Lawyer, M Ravi is representing the 6 had informed the presiding judge that all six are not taking any plea of guilt to their charges today and also asked the court to allow for the case to be adjourned for four weeks, to prepare for a pre-trial conference..

Mr Ravi commented to the media that Nparks has no authority to govern the expression of free speech and overstepping its given powers.

“It is apparent that the object of Parks and Trees Act is specifically for purposes of regulating the park, example prevent anyone from endangering the park.

No where in the act, the minister has been conferred with any authority to make regulations in relation to speech and assembly.

The Public Order Act has clearly exempted any requirement for permit for speech or demonstration. Therefore the charging of Ms Han and Roy under the Parks and Trees Act is ultra vires the Public Order Act and Public Entertainment and Meetings Act (PEMA).

The regulation in this regard,  also violates article 9 of the Singapore Constitution that says that no one shall be deprived of his or her liberty, save in accordance with law.

Therefore the enactment of Parks and Trees regulation under Section 23(2) (b) in relation to speech and assembly are promulgated not in accordance with law.”

On the nuisance charge, The Online Citizen (TOC) understands that M Ravi will be meeting with the prosecution to understand the basis of this charge against the 6 on nuisance and find out more detail.

M Ravi also said he may be taking an application to mount a constitutional challenge against Regulation 23(2)(b) of the Parks and Trees Act on behalf of Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui.

The first charge under the public nuisance act carries a penalty of up to $1,000 while the second charge for demonstrating without a valid permit carries a penalty of up to $5,000. For the case of Roy and Ms Han, they can potentially be fined by up to $6,000 each.

This matter is fixed for closed court, pre-trial conference on 24th November 2014 at 3pm.

Correction – the 6 who ware charged under the public nuisance act have not taken any plea yet.  It was reported earlier that the 6 who are charged have pleaded not guilty. We apologise for the error.