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Yee’s lawyers asks court to review bail conditions

Yee
Yee

Lawyers for blogger and youtuber Amos Yee will be asking the court to amend the bail conditions for their client.

The 16-year old has been in remand in Changi Prison since 30 April after he breached bail conditions.

Yee’s trial will take place on Thursday and Friday.

Nonetheless, Ervin Tan, one of three laywers representing the teenager, said they "did not wish to see him spend more time in remand than necessary".

Yee was arrested on 29 March after he posted a video on Youtube which the authorities claimed wounded the feelings of Christians, and that he made “offensive” remarks about the late Lee Kuan Yew.

The second charge, however, has since been stood down by the prosecutor but could be revived at a later date.

A third charge against Yee is for transmitting an obscene image on his blog.

News reports earlier said Yee was charged for sedition but this is inaccurate. Yee, instead, is being charged under the Penal Code, Section 298 and Section 292(1)(a).

Yee was bailed out after his initial arrest but at his pre-trial conference on 30 April, he was ordered to be remanded again after he failed to adhere to the bail terms by posting two articles after he was released.

The bail conditions had required him not to upload or distribute any content online before the completion of his case, and to report to Bedok police station every morning at 9am.

The judge at his pre-trial hearing raised the bail to S$30,000, together with the earlier bail conditions.

Yee, however, felt the conditions were unreasonable and refused to accept the terms. He had thus told his bailor, counsellor Vincent Law, that he would not like to be bailed, although Mr Law was prepared to post bail for Yee again, even under the new terms.

A review of his bail conditions will now be heard on Wednesday.

"We have informed the court from the outset that the bail conditions are too wide and in violation of his constitutional rights to freedom of speech and expression,” Mr Alfred Dodwell, Yee’s lawyer, said.

He said that the gag order imposed on Yee is unnecessary.

“To inform a boy of 16 he cannot use social media is like depriving him of water,” Mr Dodwell said. “Also the reporting to the police daily at 9 am. All of these are uncalled for.”

Mr Dodwell said Yee’s passport has already been impounded and he is thus not a flight risk.

“Even foreigners charged, who are sometimes flight risk are not treated so,” Mr Dodwell explained.  “How can one place a gag order when he has not even been found guilty? So we had to challenge it. We have filed the motion with Amos Yee's supporting affidavit.”

His lawyers are asking the courts to return the bail amount to the original sum of S$20,000, and for Yee to be allowed to exercise his freedom of speech, and to be able to post anything on any subject on any social media or online services, except commenting on or posting content about his ongoing court case.

The hearing will take place at 11.15am at the High Court.