Lawyer and former ISA detainee, Teo Soh Lung wrote yesterday (15 Dec) asking the State Court to explain why Mr Leong Sze Hian was rejected as a bailor for Mr Terry Xu, the TOC Editor who is currently being prosecuted by the State for criminal defamation.
In Sep, TOC published an article submitted by a reader allegedly defaming members of Singapore's Cabinet and harming their reputation. Terry was later charged on Thursday (13 Dec).
Ms Teo Soh Lung, founder of Function 8 and a lawyer herself, said that the State Court’s refusal to accept Terry's friend, Mr Leong Sze Hian, as bailor for Terry caused Terry to spend a few more hours in the lock-up.
"The Singapore State Court’s refusal to accept Mr Leong Sze Hian as bailor for Mr Terry Xu on 13 December 2018 causing the former deep embarrassment and the latter to spend a few more hours in the uncomfortable lock-up requires an explanation and an apology from the Court," Ms Teo said.
She explained that under section 94(1)(e) of the Criminal Procedure Code, only a co-accused cannot be a bailor but Mr Leong is not a co-accused.
Ms Teo asked, "Mr Leong is a friend of Terry Xu. He is not a co accused of Mr Xu. Under which law did the Court reject Mr Leong as bailor?"
"Apparently, the court rejected Mr Leong as bailor on the grounds that he is presently being sued by the prime minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong in the High Court," she surmised.
"If this is the reason (and I hope this is not the reason), it is most deplorable. The prime minister's civil suit against Mr Leong does not transform Mr Leong into a co-accused of Mr Terry Xu. It has nothing to do with his capacity to stand as bailor."
She further explained that a bailor's duty is simply to ensure that an accused person attends court whenever he is required to do so.
A bail bond of $5,000 had been set for Terry. If Terry fails to appear in court when required to do so, this amount will be forfeited.
"By refusing Mr Leong to stand as bailor, the court is saying that Mr Leong will not be able to ensure Mr Xu's attendance in court and worse, that he does not have $5000 for the court to forfeit should in the unlikely event, Mr Xu jumps bail," Ms Teo said.
"The court owes Mr Leong Sze Hian and Mr Terry Xu an apology and an explanation."